Teen Dating and Rape

wcc_16[1]Dating can be a positive experience when your boyfriend or girlfriend respects you and is supportive of you and your decisions about your life. But relationships can take an unhealthy turn. Many teenagers are not aware that sexual assault occurs when they are coerced or pressured into having sex with their partners. Often times, teenagers are not even aware of the signs in an unhealthy relationship which could lead to sexual abuse.

 

Q: How Do I Know If I’m In a Healthy Relationship? 

Answer these questions  YES/NO to see if you are being respected and treated right in your relationship. My boyfriend or girlfriend:

  1. Wants to know where I am, what I’m doing, and who I’m with YES/ NO
  2. Does not try to work out arguments by talking and listening to meYES/ NO
  3. Puts me down, insults, or criticize meYES/NO
  4. Sometimes scares me or hurts me; I am afraid to disagree with him/herYES/NO
  5. Does not respect my feelings, opinions, and beliefs or I don’t respect his/hersYES/NO
  6. Gets angry if I say “No” to something, including sexYES/NO
  7. Does not support me and the decisions I make about my lifeYES/NO
  8. Might hurt himself/herself or me if I want to break upYES/NO
  9. Does not trust me. I am afraid to be honest with him/herYES/NO
  10. Is only interest in physical contact, not with getting to know meYES/NO

If you answered YES to most of the statements, you are probably not in a healthy relationship.

Q: What Is a Healthy Relationship?

A healthy relationship is a positive one. In a healthy relationship, the boyfriend and girlfriend:

  • Feel good about themselves and the other option person
  • Have fun together Respect each other and their opinions
  • Trust each other and are honest with each other
  • Support each other
  • Accept each other as they are
  • Do not insult or try to control one another
  • Share in making decisions
  • Sort out their arguments through talking

A bad relationship is one where a person does not feel like he or she can be herself or himself, or feel pressured to do things they are not comfortable with and do not really want to do.

Q: What if My Boyfriend or Girlfriend is jealous? Does it mean him/her loves Me?

Mild jealousy may be common in a relationship. However, when jealousy takes the form of possessiveness and control, it is an obvious sign that you are in an unhealthy relationship. When your boyfriend/girlfriend always wants to know where you are, what you are doing, and who you are with, or gets angry if you spend time with other people, such jealousy is a sign of insecurity and a need to control you, not a sign of love. Trust and respect, not jealousy, are signs of love.

Q: What if my boyfriend says, “If you love me, you will have sex with me” or threatens to break up with me if I don’t have sex?

A person who wants to have sex with you does not necessarily love you. Love involves much more than physical attraction – and takes time to develop.

Don’t be pressured into having sex. It’s your body, and your decision. No one has the right to demand sex from you, even your boyfriend. Just because your boyfriend pays for a date, buys you a gift, or spends time with you does not entitle him to sex with you.

If your boyfriend loves you, he will not pressure you to have sex. In a healthy relationship, each person finds out what the other is really feeling – and respects his or her limits. You have the right to say “no” to sex, even if you have been kissing, touching, participating in other sexual activity, or even if you’ve had sex with him before.

Sex is not a necessary expression of love. You should not have sex if it is mainly to keep your boyfriend interested. There are many ways to express your love or affection for someone other than sex. Wait, if you are not sure whether you are ready. If your boyfriend intimidates you and refuses to stop after you have said “no”, or force you to have sex, then it is rape.

Q: What should I do if I’m in an unhealthy relationship? 

You should always be treated with respect. But it is very difficult when someone you really care about, and who is supposed to care about you, treats you badly. It is tempting to tell yourself that it is really not that bad or that it would not happen again. But remember that you deserve better.

Understand what is happening. The opposite of a healthy relationship is an abusive relationship. It is abuse when one person tries to control or hurt the other, whether it is through yelling, hitting, or forced sexual contact.

Type of Abuse Include:
  • Emotional abuse e.g. the person may insult you or put you down, try to keep you away from friends and family, spy on you, and make threats, to hurt you if you break up.
  • Physical abuse e.g. he/she may grab or shove you, hit or kick you
  • Sexual abuse includes being forced to have sex, or any other unwanted sexual contact.
Be on guard
  • Try not to be alone with the person who is abusive.
  • Have an excuse prepared so you can leave a situation quickly if you feel intimidated.
  • Always let someone know where you plan to be and when you will be back
  • If you are out, arrange your own way home. Take a mobile phone if you can, and transportation money
  • Listen to your own feelings – if something does not feel right, leave, or get out of the situation.
Try to face the truth. End the relationship.

People who have been abused say it keeps happening and usually gets worse. While you cannot make someone treat me you with respect, you can decide not to tolerate being treated poorly. You can decide to stop seeing him/her and end the relationship. Think about your own safety and wellbeing. Remember that the way your boyfriend/girlfriend treats you is not your fault. The violent person needs help.

Get help. Talk to an adult you trust or call a hotline.

Ending an unhealthy relationship can be difficult and dangerous. Do not be afraid to ask for help and protection. If you have any questions about your relationship problems, or you feel you are in danger at any point, or if you want to end the relationship, but you are scared:

  • Tell your friends, family, or teachers and ask them to help protect you.wcc_35
  • Contact a counseling service or women’s NGO for advice or for help to make a safety plan. (Refer to the phone numbers below)
  • Call the police if you are in danger.

 

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