Question #1: What is dating violence? Answer
Question #2: Why do you think abuse occurs in some teenage dating relationships? Answer
Question #3: Why might it be difficult for victims to leave an abusive relationship? Answer
Question #4: How may alcohol and other drugs contribute to an abusive relationship? Answer
Question #5: What is sexual assault? Answer
Question #6: How can a couple work together to make decisions in a relationship? Answer
Question #7: How can you help someone who has been hurt in a dating relationship? Answer
Question #8: List ways to hold abusers responsible for their abusive behavior. Answer
Question #9: What are some reasons that would make teens in some same-sex relationships feel reluctant about reporting dating violence? Answer
Question #1: What is dating violence?
Answer #1: Dating violence is a pattern of assultive and controlling behaviors that one person uses against another in order to gain or maintain power in the relationship. The abuser intentionally behaves in ways that cause fear, degredation and humiliation in order to control the other person. Forms of this abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional and psychological.
Question #2: Why do you think abuse occurs in some teenage dating relationships?
Answer #2: Abuse occurs in a dating relationship because abusers have a sense of entitlement, i.e., they believe they have the right to behave this way, that they are entitled to all of their partner's attention, affection, loyalty and time. Because of this sense of entitlement the abuser makes the choice to engage in this type of behavior. There is a misconception that alcohol, other drugs, anger or stress cause dating violence because these factors often accompany the violence. While these outside characteristics are a contributing factor to the abuse (e.g. when present, the abuse may escalate in severity and frequency), they do not cause someone to use violence against another person. The reason abusers make the choice to use violence is becasue they can, because it works and because they have the opportunity and self interest to do so.
Question #3 Why might it be difficult for victims to leave an abusive relationship?
Answer #3: Leaving an abusive relationship can be very dangerous for teen victims. Frequently when a victim attempts to leave or does leave, the abuser will escalate their behaviors of control, threaten to kill the victim, the victim's family and friends and may threaten suicide. It is usually after the victim has left that the abuser may commit a homicide, suicide or both. Other barriers for a teen vctim to overcome may include:
The teen feels isolated. The teen may have stopped spending time with friends and family.
The teen may be fearful to disclose the abuse to adults
The teen may feel responsible for the abuse and believes she can stop it.
The teen may still care for the abuser and believes that she can help him.
Question #4: How may alcohol and other drugs contribute to an abusive relationship?
Answer #4: Once again, the willingess to resort to abuse is a choice made by the abuser. Drugs can be an excuse to avoid putting responsibility for the violence where it belongs -- on the abuser. It is important to note that the use of alcohol and other drugs can escalate the frequency and severity of abuse. Some victims may use alcohol or other drugs as a way to cope with the violence they are experiencing.
Question #5: What is sexual assault?
Answer #5: Sexual assault is forcing or coercing an individual to engage in any non-consensual sexual contact or sexual penetration. In Michigan, the law regarding rape and sexual assault is called the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act (CSC). It is gender neutral and includes marital, stranger, date and acquaintance rape as well as child sexual assault.
Question #6: How can a couple work together to make decisions in a relationship?
Answer #6: Both individuals should agree upon decisions made in a relationship. Therefore it is important to listen to each other and to communicate in a non-threatening, respectful and fair manner when negotiating for a solution that will work for both people.
Question #7: How can you help someone who has been hurt in a dating relationship?
Answer #7: It's important for you to understand why you are interested in helping the individual. If you're working on your own agenda (e.g. you think the victim should leave the abuser and you plan to say this), beware. When you tell the victim what she should do, you're acting like the abuser, making decisions for the teen victim. To help a victim of dating violence, you must remember that they're not responsible for the abuse. Listen to her in a non-judgmental manner, offer available resources, be supportive and let her know she's not to blame for the abuse. There are many things you can do to help your friend.
Question #8: List the ways hold abusers responsible for their abusive behavior.
Answer #8: Possible responses may include:
Speak out when you see and hear about abuse.
Don't make excuses for the abusive behaviors.
Stop abusers when they begin make excuses or blame others for their behavior.
Tell them that using abuse is their choice and that they need to get help to change their behavior.
Offer to help them find someone to talk to about their abusive behavior.
Let abuser know that you have zero tolerance for abuse in relationships.
Question #9: What are some of the reasons that would make teens in some same-sex relationships feel reluctant about reporting dating violence?
Answer #9: They may feel that others will not take them seriously if they disclose. They may not have told anyone about their sexual orientation and fear being "outed." They may think that abuse doesn't happen in gay/lesbian relationships and may feel very alone.