Are you concerned that you or someone you care about is in a dating relationship that is unhealthy or dangerous? Although we often think of the teen years as “sweet” or “fun” or “without worries,” the truth is teens can be suffering abuse within their relationships as well. Dating violence can be physical, emotional or sexual. Dating abuse can occur between any two teens in an intimate relationship.

Lots of times, teens do not even realize that their relationship is abusive. So here are a few guidelines:

Any kind of violence is abuse! If your partner punches, pinches, hits, shoves, slaps, kicks, bites or burns you (or causes you physical harm in any other way)—you are experiencing abusive violence.

If your partner is calling you nasty names or shaming you—you’re being emotionally or verbally abused.

If your partner is embarrassing or humiliating you publicly or in private—you are being abused.

If your partner is bullying you, you are being abused.

If your partner is isolating you from your friends and family, you are being abused.

If your partner forces you to have any kind of sex when you don’t want to—it’s abuse.

If your partner threatens to spread nasty rumors about you if you don’t have sex with him/her—you are being abused.

If you are being stalked by a partner or former partner, you should take this seriously and consider it a form of abuse.

If you are a victim of teen dating abuse, start by talking to a trusted adult. Talk with a parent or adult relative, a school counselor or teacher. Ask for help! The abuse is not your fault! You are not alone! You need to get help because this kind of abuse can lead to great physical harm or even death. Abuse can lead to anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, or thoughts of suicide.

You deserve to be in a healthy relationship.

If you think a teen you know is in immediate danger, call 911!

If you are 18 or over and in an abusive dating relationship, call Esperanza at:

505-473-5200 or 800-473-5220