Hudson Valley Parent

HVP October 2016

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22 Hudson Valley Parent n October 2016 By LINDA FREEMAN P erhaps you don't like your daughter's boyfriend. He texts her constantly and has pulled her away from her friends, family and former activities. He puts her down and she's become sullen and withdrawn. The relationship just doesn't seem healthy to you. Your parental instincts are likely right. According to Safe Homes of Orange County - a not-for-profit agency dedicated to assisting survi- vors of domestic violence, teen-dat- ing violence, and human trafficking - 80 percent of teens report knowing someone their age who has expe- rienced dating violence, and 1 in 3 will experience it themselves. The agency defines dating vio- lence as a pattern of abusive be- haviors used to gain and maintain power and control over a current or previous dating partner. The Division of Violence Pro- tection from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes it as physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, includ- ing stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and might occur between a current or former dating partner. By either definition, your teen doesn't need to come home with a black eye to be a victim of dating violence - and you don't have to stand idly by wondering what to do to help. How it begins It should come as no surprise that teens receive messages about how relationships are supposed to work from what they witness through their peers, the adults in their lives and movies and television. Sometimes, the messages sent out can sadly suggest that relationship violence is par for the course. According to the CDC, teens are at risk for unhealthy relationships when they: • Believe that dating violence is acceptable • Have a friend involved in dating violence situations • Are depressed, anxious, or have other symptoms of trauma • Display aggression or aggressive behavior • Use drugs or illegal substances (including under-age drinking or prescription drug abuse) • See or experience violence in the home It is important to recognize that an abuser can often turn the physical hits or forced sex into a loving event by apologizing profusely and promis- When Romance Rages: Recognizing and preventing teen battering (Continued on Page 24)

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