The Wave Breaker

How to recognize abuse and what to do about it

One+in+three+adolescents+in+the+U.S.+is+a+victim+of+physical%2C+sexual%2C+emotional+or+verbal+abuse+from+a+dating+partner.
One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.

One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.

One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.

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High school is a place where you dream about the future. Your future career, future living space, future relationships.

Many high schoolers are already looking for prospective romantic partners. Teenagers crave the love that they see blossoming between older couples around them and in media they are exposed to.

It’s fun to read the Nicholas Sparks novels, to watch Superman save Lois Lane, and imagine yourself as the object of those amorous glances you see on screen. People want a hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on, a date to some sort of cliche high school dance.

In this quest to find “the one”, it is not uncommon to stumble upon many different forms of jerks and downright antagonists, but not all breakups end like Taylor Swift sobbing glamorously over her guitar. The statistic for those who become involved in abusive relationships in high school is shockingly high.

“Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence, and one in ten high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend,” statistics from loveisrespect.org show.

Unfortunately, many of those who have abusive partners will look past such toxic behavior in the name of keeping the relationship, or even worse, if they are afraid to leave. Getting trapped in a relationship that has become abusive is not something that one should blame themselves for. It is important to keep in mind that the abuser is the one at fault, and options that involve getting out of the relationship and getting help should be considered. There is no shame in seeking assistance in these situations, even though it is hard to admit that a once-loving relationship has turned into a source of fear and pain. It is the right thing to do to look for help and not become complacent.

Some ways to reach out are to tell loved ones, to reach out to a school counselor or trusted adult, to contact the national domestic abuse hotline, or to contact a shelter/organization that deals with domestic abuse victims, such as those listed here.

Of course before one can consider ways to get out of an abusive relationship, they must first realize that they are in one. The signs are sometimes hard to realize, as most want to see the best in their partner, and the abuser is often extremely manipulative and skilled at making themselves seem better than they are.

Here are several signs of an abusive relationship that one should be aware of: making someone feel trapped, degrading someone, ignoring/excluding them, humiliating someone, threats, guilting you but refusing to admit their own faults, apologies along the lines of “you made me do it”, constant criticism, making you reliant on them, controlling/dominant behavior (controlling who you hang out with/talk to, going through your stuff without consent, physically exerting control), cheating, decreasing your value, making you feel crazy/irrational, threatening to hurt you/themselves/others if you leave them, unreasonable jealousy, mocking, causing you to fear/be nervous about seeing them more often than you are happy about it, making you change parts of your personality/the way you act to avoid upsetting or angering them, expecting you to do things for them without appreciation and being angry if you don’t do them (such as expecting you to cook/clean up after them/other activities and therefore treating you like someone who is beneath them rather than a partner), arrogance and the need to put you down to feel good about themselves, constantly shares their problems/makes you feel responsible but has a disregard for your issues and does not listen, attempts to isolate you from those around you, consequently causing you to be more dependent on them, “punishing you” when they’re angry (breaking your things, ignoring you, etc), making you feel as if they are the best that you can do (“you will never meet anyone else like me”/”no one will ever treat you as well as I do”/”only I can deal with you”/etc), forcing you to do things you do not want to do (drugs/sexual activities/etc) with the threat of leaving you if you don’t.

If even one of these behaviors is exhibited in a relationship, it should be addressed and not allowed to continue. It is important to know that none of these actions are acceptable, and one should never feel the need to overlook them or just learn to live with them.

If the relationship is littered with many of these toxic tendencies, it is best to end the relationship. Doing so is difficult and can, in some cases, be dangerous, so be sure to seek help. Going through these sort of situations alone is not something anyone should feel like they have to do alone. Loved ones and trusted adults should be informed of the situation so there is a support system for the victim to rely on as they go through the process of freeing themselves from the relationship.

It is important to keep in mind that you do not need to be in a relationship; a “having him/her is better than having no one” mentality is not healthy. One should never feel like they have to settle, or that they are not worthy of a better relationship.

You are stronger than you think; you deserve the world.

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About the Writer
Eve Katz, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Head of Graphic Design

Eve is one of two editor-in-chiefs of the Wave Breaker. She loves writing and taking pictures of her dogs. She spends all of her time watching and rewatching Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and she can quote the episodes by memory because she thinks they’re so cool cool cool cool cool cool, no doubt. Eve loves Terry, he is her favorite character. Eve is also a Hufflepuff, her favorite color is pink, her favorite superheroes are Spider-Man and Captain America and her favorite movie is Lilo and Stitch. She wants to work for Disney one day. She hopes to spend the year having fun with the rest of the staff, improving her writing skill, and helping everyone be the best they can be.

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1 Comment

One Response to “How to recognize abuse and what to do about it”

  1. jim on November 15th, 2017 12:32 pm

    wow LOVELY arTICHOKE

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How to recognize abuse and what to do about it