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Recognizing an Unhealthy Relationship

Published: November 22, 2012

When you are in a relationship, it can be hard to see outside of it sometimes. Could violence be a part of your relationship? We know it is scary, but you have the freedom to choose what you want and violence should never be a part of that choice. Many teens think that violence or abuse is not an issue in their dating lives, but one in three teens will experience some form of abuse in their romantic relationships. Sadly, only about one-third of them will ever tell anyone about it.

Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a significant other. There are three types of abuse to be aware of: physical, emotional and sexual. Physical abuse is actual pain from punching, kicking or shoving. Emotional abuse includes tearing down, name-calling, guilt-tripping, blaming and threatening. Sexual abuse occurs when someone forces you to have sex, touches you without your permission or prevents you from using birth control. All of these are signs of abuse and should not be tolerated. Speak out to someone you trust and get the help you deserve.

Here are a few facts about unhealthy relationships and abuse:

  • 10.7% of students in public Knox County high schools report having been hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by a dating partner in the past year
  • 10.1% of Knox County public high school students report that they were physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to
  • Girls in abusive relationships are four to six times more likely to become pregnant, twice as likely to contract an STD and eight to nine times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers
  • 81% of parents surveyed believe that teen dating violence is not an issue or admit that they do not know if it is an issue

If you or someone you know is in an unhealthy or abusive relationship don’t hesitate to call the Knoxville Family Justice Center’s 24-hour family violence helpline at 865-521-6336 or the national teen dating abuse helpline at 866-331-8453. 


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