Violent relationships have a lasting impact

In February, Ray Rice was accused of punching his then fiancé, Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City elevator.  The NFL subsequently suspended him for two games. Through a series of meetings and interviews, Rice admitted to the assault. However, Rice’s now wife made a public apology, saying that she had instigated the physical aggression. While people were still upset about the event, the NFL dropped the charges and didn’t end up acquiring video footage. Monday, the video footage of the altercation was released. The graphic video shows Rice aggressive towards his then-fiancé. When she rushes at him he then punches her in the face, knocking her unconscious. The rest of the footage is Rice dragging her unconscious body haphazardly from the elevator. The footage is hard to watch. Since the release of the footage, Rice has been dropped by the Ravens and indefinitely suspended by the NFL. Within moments the footage went viral.

How does this affect your teen? According to loveisrespect.org

  • One quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse.
  • Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the national average.

What are the long lasting affects of the abuse? According to www.loveisrespect.org

  • Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.
  • Half of youth who have been victims of both dating violence and rape attempt suicide, compared to 12.5% of non-abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys.

With one in ten teens being exposed to violence in dating relationships, it’s an important conversation to open up. Your teen needs to know that it is never ok to turn to violence in a relationship and that they never simply have to be a victim in it either. Talk to teens about anger in relationships and some healthy ways to deal with conflict, anger, and frustration. Don’t be afraid to use examples in your own relationships of healthy ways to deal with conflict. Your teens are watching you and appreciate and learn best from your honesty.

Know the warning signs for abuse and share those. Warning signs of abuse include but are not limited to: using insults, humiliating, monitoring their every move (demanding text updates, wanting to know plans, etc), isolating them from friends and family, threatening to harm themselves, your teen, or others when not satisfied.

This is a sensitive subject. According to Loveisrespect.org, “Only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse”. Teens who are in abusive relationships make excuses for their significant other such as, “It was only one time.” Or, “He promised he wouldn’t do it again. If you suspect your teen is or has been abused, call their school or any others who may have a grasp on what could be happening. Opening up this conversation is an important step in keeping your teen healthy and safe.