Susie Kroll has worked in various trainings, seminars, and keynotes to provide teens with an understanding of what dating abuse really is. A report conducted by Teenage Unlimited claimed that “57 percent of teens know someone who has been physically, sexually, or verbally abusive in a dating relationship.” Kroll’s mission is to spread awareness by answering your deepest questions on teen related violence.
Susie Kroll: Abuse is a pattern of behavior where one person tries to control the thoughts, beliefs, or conduct of a lover, friend, or any other person close to them. It can include a cycle of violence in the forms of physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, spiritual, and/or economic abuse.
Abuse, also called battering, domestic violence, and/or dating violence happens in straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, questioning, and transgendered relationships. It crosses all social, ethnic, racial, and socio-economic lines. An individual’s size, strength, politics, and/or personality DOES NOT determine whether he or she could be an abuser or a victim.
All of these resources are available to those currently in a dating violence relationship or out of one. If you have questions about dating violence, if you are a victim of it, and what to do to get out, you can always call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474. Another great resource is www.loveisrespect.org. They have online chat available for questions and discussions with their peer advocates. If talking isn’t your speed then their website offers many options and tons of information about dating violence and what you can do. If you are seeking help locally, then www.aardvarc.org is another great resource where you can find information on dating violence, sexual violence, stalking, and getting victim assistance. They have local listings for aid by state and county. If this all seems too huge and you want to talk to someone you know school counselors and nurses are a great place start. I think it is important to talk to someone that knows about teen dating violence and that can find you the help that you need. It is hard enough for a victim to come forward and talk about dating violence just to have someone that isn’t an expert in the field be at a loss to help or where to direct you. These hotlines and websites are great resources and they know what to say and how to find you the help that you need.
*Diane also asked, “Is it a good idea to go to the police?”
Susie Kroll: If you feel that your life is in danger and/or you fear for your safety then by all means, call the police. Worrying about if you are doing the right thing by going to the police or not pales in comparison to saving your life.
Going to the police is scary and a serious step. It may or may not be the right thing for you to do. Learning about all your options is the best way to for you to make an educated decision about what you want to do. The police can document the abuse you are experiencing by writing a police report, especially if there are physical injuries such as bruises, scratches, cuts, or black eyes. Then the victim will have the documentation necessary to talk to a judge about whether or not to have an order of protection granted.
An Order of Protection is a document from a court to help protect you from abuse or harassment. In an Order of Protection a judge says there are things that the person who hurt or threatened you must or must not do. A judge can:
- Order your boyfriend or girlfriend to stop abusing you
- Order your boyfriend or girlfriend to stay away from your home, work, school or family
- Order your boyfriend or girlfriend not to talk with you or see you (no mail, phone, email, messages through other people)
- Let your boyfriend or girlfriend talk with or see you but not threaten or harass you or hurt your body
An Order of Protection is an order from a judge. It is not an agreement between you or your boyfriend or girlfriend. The judge is the only person who can change or end an Order of Protection.
If your boyfriend or girlfriend violates the Order Of Protection, or does something that the order says he or she is not supposed to do, you should call the police. If the Order of Protection says that your boyfriend or girlfriend must stay away from you and he or she comes to your house or calls, you should call the police and report each event or encounter.
An Order of Protection may or may not completely protect you but does create more documentation for any necessary legal or criminal action that may occur in the future. This may sound very serious and a bit scary but even if you are in the early stages of what you believe may be dating abuse, knowing all your options is how you can make the best decision for yourself and your safety. Calling the National Dating Abuse Helpline is also a way for you to learn more about whether or not your specific situation warrants a call to the police. The helpline number is 1-866-331-9474.
Reader *Lauren asked, “What should I do if no one believes that I am being abused”
Reasons to Be Beautiful Magazine features questions from our readers in a “Q&A From a Teen Dating Violence Expert” column every week. Please send all questions to Dating@ReasonstoBeBeautiful.com. If you wish to remain anonymous, please tell us in your e-mail. You may ask as many questions as you desire.
*Names changed to protect our readers who wish to remain anonymous.