On Monday, Allison Schultz, who works as a therapist for a domestic violence agency in the state of Oregon, began an excellent post on teen dating violence. You can read part 1 here.
I’m extremely excited to post part 2 today. As I stated on Monday, I believe every parent should read this content and be aware of these warning signs. While we hope and pray violence (especially with our children) never shows up on our doorstep, it’s important to be educated and aware. Take some time to share this with other parents you know, especially those with pre-teens or teenagers!
Author’s Note: I recognize that both males and females can perpetrate abuse and both males and females can be victims/survivors of abuse. What we know about intimate partner violence is that in most cases a male is perpetrating abuse against a female. For the sake of avoiding a mouthful of pronouns, I’m going to use “he” when referring to an abuser and “she” when referring to a survivor.
According to recent statistics from loveisrespect.org, nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. As shocking as that statistic is, one in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence. This is a serious epidemic across our country.
In part 1 we focused on physical, emotional and sexual abuse and the warning signs to be aware of. In this post, we will conclude with financial, spiritual and social abuse.
Financial abuse is often related to part time jobs for teens. He might keep her up all night on the phone so she’s tired the next day at work. He might harass her at work by showing up uninvited or continually calling her while she’s working. This often prevents her from getting or keeping a job. Watch for the following warning signs of financial abuse:
- She gets in trouble a lot at work or is fired.
- Her reasons for this don’t make sense or seem odd.
- She stops going to her normal activities at church or place of worship.
- Her belief system changes dramatically and suddenly.
- She loses interest in activities that she used to enjoy.
- She doesn’t spend time with her friends anymore or is losing friends.
- She drops out of sports or activities.
It’s important to remember that this list [including part 1] isn’t exhaustive. You know the teens in your lives well. If you see drastic changes in their mood, grades, or any part of their life, ask questions. Approach her with your concerns respectfully; don’t talk down to her. Affirm and validate her feelings. Remember that teens shut down when adults correct them. Support their desire for independence and remind them how wonderful and loved they are and that they deserve a healthy relationship. Listen to them, believe them, and tell them that no one deserves to be abused. Also, you’re not alone. In addition to your own support systems, there are a lot of resources out there that can help. Here are just a few: