DASH’s early warning signs are meant to guide you in determining whether your relationship is healthy. In this series of articles, we will explore each warning sign in more depth so that you will have a better idea about what each sign means and if you need to address a problem in your relationship.
Our seventh early warning sign of abuse is:
You’ve been taught since elementary school that drugs and alcohol are bad news. With good reason, your teachers and parents have tried to impress on you the dangers of substance abuse. These dangers can escalate when your dating partner is under the influence.
Someone who uses drugs or alcohol can become more violent and paranoid. A person under the influence does not have the same control over his/her emotions or reactions as when sober. A small issue or incident may get blown out of proportion. Whatever “little” things bother him/her will suddenly become big things. You may be caught in the cross-fire of a paranoid reaction. You are the one your partner may take his/her frustrations out on. If your partner exhibits other warning signs of dating abuse (threatens you, insults you, tells you what to do), he/she will only become worse under the influence.
The Centers for Disease Control recently released it 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance based on surveys of teens in grades 9-12 covering the September 2010-December 2011 time period. Surveys were conducted nationwide and included 43 state surveys and 21 large urban school surveys. An eye-opener for parents, the surveys covered such topics as health-risk behaviors (tobacco, drug and alcohol use), bullying, dating abuse, and emotional health. Tables within the report display the data by state and select cities.
Of concern to DASH is the survey’s results about teen dating abuse. Quoting directly from the report:
During the 12 months before the survey, 9.4% of students nationwide had been hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend (i.e., dating violence). Overall, the prevalence of dating violence was higher among black (12.2%) and Hispanic (11.4%) than white (7.6%) students; higher among black female (11.8%) and Hispanic female (10.6%) than white female (7.7%) students; and higher among black male (12.4%) and Hispanic male (12.1%) than white male (7.4%) students.
It can happen to anyone, anywhere. Teen dating abuse was the cause of four deaths since the end of May. Each of these recent cases had warning signs that were missed or ignored. Know the early warning signs. Know the lethal warning signs. Do not take threats to yourself or your family lightly.
Two cases in Washington State top the list:
On May 29, police arrested 19-year-old Jarrod Lane in the stabbing death of 17-year-old Jessica Scholl. Jessica was found dead in her burning home on May 25, about a week after she had broken up with Lane. (Lethal warning sign #8).
Read the entire story at http://www.nwcn.com/home/?fId=155518585&fPath=/news/local&fDomain=10212
Thank you, Fairfax County, VA, Department of Family Services Nurturing Program for inviting DASH to speak to the students about abusive relationships. Although it was a small group, these teens were touched by Shev’s story and were ready to take the early warning signs to heart. Many of the adults present took our brochures to distribute among their community contacts. Teen by teen, parent by parent the message is being spread: Dating Abuse Stops Here – it stops with me. Shev, your spirit is here working with us all.