Remember in a previous post when I talked about my “Please Stand Up If…” activity that I do during assemblies for girls?
One of the scenarios that I ask them to stand up for is whether they know a teen girl who is or has been in an abusive relationship.
Typically, 25-30% of the girls in the audience will stand.
What’s even worse?
I’m convinced that number is low because many of the girls in the audience don’t even recognize what an “abusive” relationship is.
And that’s why February has been designated nationally as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
The more light we shine on this epidemic with our girls, the more likely they’ll be able to recognize an abusive relationship the minute it reveals itself and RUN, not walk away.
Hopefully, today’s post and next week’s will do just that and help equip you to protect your daughter from becoming another statistic.
Help your daughter recognize the red flags so she can RUN!
Many girls don’t realize that abusive relationships usually begin long before their boyfriend ever slaps, punches, kicks or chokes them.
And they miss the red flags because they don’t involve “physical” abuse.
(But you and I both know that other forms of abuse can be just as harmful).
Case in point:
Recently a 15-year-old young lady told me that when she broke up with her boyfriend he threatened to commit suicide if she left him.
Although she didn’t want to continue dating him, she agreed to stay because she didn’t want to be the reason someone killed himself.
I told her that was manipulation and a red flag for the start of an abusive relationship.
Not to mention, she wasn’t responsible for his life.
I asked her how far she’d be willing to take this. Would she be willing to marry a man who told her if she didn’t marry him he would kill himself?
At 15, she’s way too young to feel stuck in a relationship she doesn’t want to be in.
So, I’m thankful that she confided in me and I was able to point out that her boyfriend’s manipulation was a red flag.
Does that mean he was definitely going to physically abuse her? Maybe not.
But is that a risk you’d want your daughter to take?
I didn’t think so.
You’d want her to RUN, not walk away from that relationship.
And that’s what your daughter needs to hear from you.
Talk about different scenarios (like this one and the one below), point out red flags that she should take notice of, and help prepare her to RUN for her own safety.
But at the end of the day, your daughter has to believe that she deserves better.
Otherwise she could end up in a similar situation as this next young lady: Putting her abuser before herself.
Help Your Daughter Save Herself, NOT her abuser!
I had a shocking conversation with an 8thgrade girl recently that broke my heart.
She told me that she dated a guy from the age of 9 to 11.
When she was 11 and her boyfriend was 12, he tried to get her to have sex with him.
Get this: It happened in December and he told her that she wouldn’t have to buy him a Christmas present if she had sex with him.
(Is that really the line guys are using nowadays? Who knew? And I wonder if it ever works?)
When she refused, he choked her, leaving a bruise on her neck.
She lied and told her mom that the bruise was a hickey because she said she’d rather get in trouble for having a hickey than get him in trouble for choking her.
I’ll let that sink in for a minute: She would rather lie and get in trouble than to tell the truth and get her abuser in trouble. AND she’s only 11 years old!!!!
Is that not one of the saddest things you’ve ever heard???
I am beside myself trying to figure out how this happens at such a young age.
What has happened in our society that would cause girls as young as 11 to think so little of themselves that they don’t believe they deserve to be treated with respect?
Unfortunately, if this young lady doesn’t learn her worth soon, she’ll be the teenage girl who will cover up for the abusive boyfriend in high school.
The young woman who will cover up for her abusive boyfriend in college.
Or even the grown woman who will cover up for her abusive husband when she’s married.
That is NOT the future we want for your daughter!!
So please, if you haven’t already, start having regular conversations with her about dating violence.
Don’t leave it up to the culture to define what a healthy relationship looks like!
Because if you do, your daughter may very well think that a boyfriend who’s jealous or controlling really cares about her.
Or that putting up with jealousy and controlling behavior proves that she really cares about him.
Unfortunately, this is how a lot of girls think.
That’s why next week’s post will tackle the unhealthy thought process that leads many girls to confuse abusive behavior as “love” and ultimately remain in abusive dating relationships.
But that’s not all.
I’m also hosting a special, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month “talk” for teen girls on Instagram Live this Thursday at 7:00 pm EST.
Have your daughter go here to tune in. We’ll be discussing topics such as:
- Different types of “abuse” (i.e. physical, sexual, verbal and digital)
- Red flags (i.e. manipulation, controlling behavior)
- Why girls stay in abusive relationships
- What to do to get out of an abusive relationship
In the meantime, what red flags of possible abusive behavior have you told your daughter to look out for in dating relationships?
Lastly, on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = doubtful and 10 = absolutely certain), how confident are you that your daughter would RUN and not walk away from an abusive relationship because she knows she deserves better?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
And please come back next week for Part 2 of my Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month series.