Breaking dating violence cycle
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Young men often mimic behavior of abuse learned from father figures while young women, she said, typically lash out physically or verbally in response to abusive behavior by their male partner.
It wasn’t until she “woke up” one day during a serious, physical altercation with her ex-husband that she realized she needed to leave. This year, members of Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Mental Health Clinic gave free classes to teens and parents that included information about the warning signs of dating violence, the use of social media as a control method, and how to respectfully and effectively communicate their feelings to dating partners.
Many adult and teenage perpetrators and victims alike have trouble identifying their own abusive relationship.
“There is an array of emotions in a relationship between two people, all kinds of emotions, and it’s acceptable and understood,” said Marta Pelaéz, president and CEO of local nonprofit Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc.
There are many reasons why, but teen dating violence is often different from violence in adult relationships.
“When it comes to adult domestic violence, about 90% of domestic violence is perpetrated by men onto women,” Pelaéz said.
She went to the shelter about two months ago and found specialized care, a place to stay, food to eat, and a community of supporters who are helping her get back on her feet after her traumatic experience, she said. Family Violence Prevention Services (FVPS) is just one of several local advocacy organizations that provide invaluable support for domestic abuse victims, and they never turn anyone away. But funding for such programs can be hard to come by, Pelaéz said.
The bulk of Thompson’s abuse occurred in her adult years, but she said more teens should be aware of the “red flags” in such relationships. FVPS receives City, state, and federal funding, but the organization relies heavily on the support of community members who believe in their cause.That’s why in general terms that victim potentially will seek an abuser, at the unconscious level of course,” Pelaéz said.“That’s where they find a certain level of comfort because that’s their normal, that’s what they grew up knowing.” Pelaéz has witnessed this truth firsthand with the hundreds of women she and her staff serve at the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter, a facility run by Family Violence Prevention Services, that offers free residential services, therapy, legal and medical assistance, childcare and a suite of other resources to women and children who have recently left abusive environments.One in five high school students in Bexar County will report being abused by someone they are romantically involved with, according to domestic violence experts.These disturbing local trends echo at the national scale: in 2013, one in every five female high school students in the U. reported physical and/or sexual abuse by a dating partner, according to the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCVF).“It offers the opportunity for more frequent controlling behaviors.” Demanding access to someone’s private text messages, emails, or social media accounts is a form of abuse – a violation of privacy that may seem innocuous at first to many teenagers.