Project Safe always has been close to our hearts, as we have seen this organization change lives as they work to eliminate domestic violence in our community. We are pleased to present this guest blog post by Mary Haddon, the Youth Educator and Advocate at Project Safe.
There are many things that make life as a teenager stressful: managing extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, making good grades, keeping up with friends, and starting to date. One thing no one needs in his or her life: relationship drama. We’re Breaking Silence, a special initiative for teens to learn about what makes a relationship healthy, and what makes a relationship unhealthy, or abusive. We believe that dating shouldn’t hurt, but let’s take a look at what that means.
Most people know that physical violence in a relationship is never okay, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that a relationship doesn’t have to have physical violence to be considered abusive. Abusive relationships are all about power and control, and there are a lot of ways that an abusive person will try to control someone in a relationship. Making rules about what someone can wear, who they can hang out with, or where they can go are all very controlling behaviors. Your mom can make these rules for you, but your boyfriend or girlfriend definitely can’t. Control also shows up digitally, like telling someone who they can and can’t follow, or hacking their accounts to ‘check in.’ We’ve even heard someone say their significant other made them text every hour to check in! How stressful!
In a healthy relationship, there is mutual trust and respect. That means that no one person gets to make rules for the relationship, but that both people work together and communicate what they want for the relationship. Healthy relationships are about equality, and if the couple disagrees on something, they can talk it out and come to a solution that they both agree on. Another important aspect of a healthy relationship is that the couple has fun together! If the relationship feels stressful, uncomfortable or someone feels afraid, it is not a healthy. You deserve better! Lose the drama!
So what can we do about these unhealthy and abusive relationships? Breaking Silence developed a text line specifically for teens to be able to have a place to talk about relationships. That means you can text us anytime, day or night, to ask questions, receive support, get advice, and learn more about relationships. And guess what: it’s anonymous! So go ahead, pull out your phone, and save this number now! It’s 706-765-8019.
For more information, visit Project Safe’s web site.