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Dating


Download the Look Out And Speak Out Against Dating Violence campaign brochure.

Teenagers can choose better relationships when they learn to identify the early warning signs of an abusive relationship, understand that they have choices, and believe they are valuable people who deserve to be treated with respect. Early warning signs that your date may eventually become abusive:

Common clues that indicate a teenager may be experiencing dating violence:

Help is available for teenagers If you are a teenager involved in an abusive relationship, you need to remember that no one deserves to be abused or threatened. Remember you cannot change your batterer, and in time the violence will get worse. You need to take care of yourself. Talk to a trusted adult or locate a shelter or agency serving victims of domestic abuse in your community. Together, you can talk about making a plan to end the relationship and remain safe. Call the Alabama Domestic Violence 24-hour hotline, 1-800-650-6522. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Information adapted in part from the Rose Haven Center for Domestic Violence in Gadsden (AL).

More Help loveisrespect.org is a new 24 hour resource that utilizes telephone and web-based interactive technology to reach teens and young adults experiencing dating abuse. The Helpline numbers are: (866) 331-9474 and TTY (866) 331-8453. The peer to peer online individual chat function is available from 4 p.m. to midnight and can be accessed from the website.

In Their Shoes: Teens and Dating Violence is a revolutionary, scenario-based training tool for adults who work with teens. Participants learn what dating is like for todays teens by becoming a teen character, making choices about their relationship and seeing the results.

Dating Safety Consider double-dating the first few times you go out with a new person. Before leaving on a date, know the exact plans for the evening and make sure a parent or friend knows these plans and what time to expect you home. Let your date know that you are expected to call or tell that person when you get in. Be aware of your decreased ability to react under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you leave a party with someone you do not know well, make sure you tell another person you are leaving and with whom. Ask a friend to call and make sure you arrived home safely. Assert yourself when necessary. Be firm and straightforward in your relationships. Trust your instincts. If a situation makes you uncomfortable, try to be calm and think of a way to remove yourself from the situation. From the Domestic Violence Advocacy Program of Family Resources, Inc.

You should think ahead about ways to be safe if you are in a dangerous or potentially dangerous relationship. Here are some things to consider in designing your own safety plan. What adults can you tell about the violence and abuse? What people at school can you tell in order to be safe--teachers, principal, counselors, security? Consider changing your school locker or lock. Consider changing your route to/from school. Use a buddy system for going to school, classes and after school activities. What friends can you tell to help you remain safe? If stranded, who could you call for a ride home? Keep a journal describing the abuse. Get rid of or change the number to any beepers, pagers or cell phones the abuser gave you. Keep spare change, calling cards, number of the local shelter, number of someone who could help you and restraining orders with you at all times. Where could you go quickly to get away from an abusive person? What other things can you do?

Women ages 16 to 24 experience the highest per capita rates of intimate violence--nearly 20 per 1000 women.