Everyone has the right to be in a healthy relationship. However, there are some relationships that can be unhealthy and even turn abusive where a partner is using destructive behaviors to exert power and control over a dating partner (see more warning signs below). This may include nasty text messages or emails, constant calls, checking of a partners cell phone or making accusations Momtrends was recently invited to the Liz Claiborne Inc offices for It's Time to Talk Day to speak with domestic violence advocates to have an open conversation to raise awareness about dating abuse.
This 8th annual It's Time to Talk Day was dedicated to ensuring that Americans speak-up about domestic violence, teen dating violence, sexual assault an intimate partner abuse. This included a day where over 60 high profile speakers lead the conversation sharing their experiences as well as discussing how to tackle these problems.
At the 2011 Time to Talk day, I had the unique opportunity to speak with Jane Randel, Senior Vice President of Liz Claiborne, Inc and Dr. Karen Singleton, Director of a Sexual Violence Prevention Program at Columbia University. Jane spoke with me about how Liz Claiborne, Inc has been working to end domestic violence since 1991 with its Love is not Abuse Program, the recently launched Love is Not Abuse app and the curriculum that is now in many colleges. Randel stated, "this day is about starting the conversation and empowering people." Adding, "this is not only for those that affected by it but people that are bystanders that know something is wrong." Everyone needs to speak up and know that they are now alone.
I also spoke with Dr. Karen Singleton, who was a consult for the Love is Not Abuse College Curriculum, who spoke about how dating abuse is no longer scars we can see one someones body, but that they are deep seeded emotional wounds. She noted, "students need to be empowered to know that they can heal and lead a normal life after abuse." Adding, "But they have to break the cycle and say something." She also noted that this includes people in the victims life. "If you know notice something is 'off' about your friend, say something! You may be saving their life."
The cycle of abuse can break with something as simple as talking honesty. Love is Not Abuse recommends to use your Facebook or Twitter to start a conversation about healthy relationships. Post a status or tweet similar to '??Have you talked about healthy relationships lately? It'??s Time to Talk.'? and include a link to a resource (they recommend the 2010 fact sheet from the CDC) or text shortcode: "loveis" to 77054. This simple message may spark something amongst your friends and get them to take them next step. You can also ask your employer to address dating abuse with your coworkers. Having a support system at work is important and may encourage someone experiencing dating abuse to come forward and ask for help. You can even have your employer post hotline numbers and these Love is Not Abuse educational brochures in common spaces so that they are available to everyone. For those in school, check out the Love Is Not Abuse curriculum to prevent teen dating violence and see if your school system will adopt it.
Warning Signs of Abuse:
- Checking your cell phone or email without permission
- Constantly putting you down
- Extreme jealousy or insecurity
- Explosive temper
- Isolating you from family or friends
- Making false accusations
- Mood swings
- Physically hurting you in any way
- Telling you what to do
For more tips and tools, and information on where to get help, check out LoveisRespect.org or
call the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 866-331-9474
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