You’ve seen it on Teen Mom, watched a few Lifetime movies, you’re an expert, right? Well, here at loveisrespect, as much as we are glad the subject of dating abuse is out there, sometimes these shows aren’t giving the full story. We want you to have the full story.
Here are five common misconceptions about dating abuse:
1. Leaving an abusive relationship is easy. Trust us, it’s not. Besides financial and legal ties (leasing an apartment together, buying a dog together, etc), the feelings are there. Many times, the abuse did not start until well into the relationship, after feelings for the abuser are already well developed. Think of someone you really care about and whose opinion you respect- if they started lashing out at you, pushing you during fights, and calling you names, could you leave right away and never speak to them again? For most of us, the answer is no.
2. A teenager would talk to parent or trusted adult right away if something happened. We hear this a lot from concerned parents: “If something was going on, they would tell me.” At loveisrespect, we’re either still in high school or not that far removed from it so we feel confident in saying that sometimes the subject of dating is just too awkward to broach with parents. Part of the controlling behavior involves cutting the partner off from family, which only widens the gap between a victim and his or her parents.
3. Dating abuse happens rarely. We wish this were true, but it’s not. According to a 2006 Liz Claiborne survey, one in five teens reported being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner. Anyone who is in a relationship is at risk for becoming one of these teens. No one is too smart, too rich, too happy, too attractive to develop feelings for someone who will later abuse them.
4. If your partner isn’t hitting you, then you aren’t being abused. Abusive partners find different ways to hurt their partner: forcing sex, withholding money, calling them names, obsessively texting, stalking, etc. Just because the victim doesn’t have a bruise doesn’t mean these behaviors hurt any less. Look here for a list of the different types of abuse.
5. You can do it alone. Abusive relationships can make you feel worthless, stress you out beyond belief, and make you feel like you have nowhere to turn. Some will try to go it alone and keep their pain behind closed doors. Don’t- you don’t have to. We here at loveisrespect are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support you, listen to you, and help you take care of yourself.
What myths about dating abuse do you see around you? Do you have any questions as to what is fact and what is fiction?