Healthy relationships consist of trust, honesty, respect, equality, and compromise. Relationships without these things can lead to a negative outcome. Unfortunately, teen dating violence, whether we want to believe it or not, is one of those outcomes that does exist. According to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, nearly 1.5 million teens between the ages of 13-18 are affected by dating abuse. With the month of October being National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it is important that we cover the three phases to dating violence and some of the red flags to look for in your relationship.
The Honeymoon Phase: This is the beginning of the relationship when emotions are hot and heavy. Y’all are texting all the time, walking to class with each other, spending time on the weekends, and sneaking to talk on the phone. The love and affection is being shown at an unimaginable level. You almost feel like you’ve met your prince/princess. During this time the abuser is luring you in to what’s about to come next.
The Tension Building Phase: At this point, you’ve been dating for a while but there seems to be a sudden change in the dynamic of the relationship. The abuser demonstrates possessiveness and jealousy in subtle ways that can lure you in. Sometimes perpetrators move fast in relationships. Abusers prey on victims, saying and doing all of the right things that give victims a false sense of security. Abusers also tend to try and isolate you from friends and family. This can play out in conversations that begin with lines like, “You never have time for me.” “You are always with your friends.” “Do you love them more than me?”
The Explosive Phase: This is the stage that you DO NOT want to get to. If you ignore the red flags in phase two, then this will likely become your reality. Abuse will show its face in one of four ways: physical, sexual, emotional or verbal. There is nothing you can do to prevent the abusive behavior. No matter what, the abusive individual will find an excuse to abuse. The perpetrator will say things like “You pushed me to do it!” or “ Why did you make me do that to you?” These phrases are meant to trick you into thinking you are the cause of your abuse.
The chance of repeated abuse is very likely unless you put an end to these three phases of dating violence now. After the explosive phase, the honeymoon phase starts over but with a twist. The abuser will try to lure you back in with apologies, gifts and reasons for why they hurt you.
Abuse is embarrassing and nobody wants to tell their friends and/or family that they are being harmed. Seeking help is in your best interest. Chicago has several resources that not only help victims of dating abuse but also the abusers. One of those is the City of Chicago Domestic Violence Helpline: 877.863.6338. Everyone deserves love but if it’s going to make you cry sad tears instead of happy ones, then take some time to rethink your attachment to the person you’re with.
For more information about dating violence visit the City of Chicago website.
By Brenae Scott, Alcorn State University Alumni
[email protected] iam_illinoize