Love shouldn’t hurt-ever

by Christina Hays

Every February recognizes Teen Dating Violence Awareness! 1 in 3 teens report abuse in dating relationships. This just represents those who are willing and able to report. Most teens choose to tell a friend instead of a parent, teacher, or counselor. This is why we stress the importance of bystander intervention. If you see or hear something potentially dangerous, please report it to a trusted adult.
One of the most prevalent forms of abuse in teen dating is technology abuse. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence this abuse comes in many forms such as: constant texts or calling, sending threats or demanding info, controlling someone’s online connections, forcing password or location sharing, forced humiliation online, pressuring someone to change their online profile, jealousy about social media, and threats to share pics or content. These are just a few of the ways technology is being used to inflict abuse and control in relationships. Unfortunately, all the safety technology developed and used to protect our children can also be weaponized by abusive people. This is why it is imperative that we have tough conversations with our children and educate them about healthy and unhealthy relationships.

With the addition of air tags and other small tracking devices stalking has become extremely prevalent in abuse. You may be wondering how exactly we protect our children from these types of abuse. The most important thing is to check everything regularly. Phones, clothes, cars, gym bags, shoes, and other devices need to be gone through regularly if any abuse is disclosed or detected. Most of these devices have to use wi-fi and location access. An easy way to check for these is to log into your wi-fi to check for any unknown devices or check Bluetooth on your device to see if anything is connected that you do not recognize. The National Network to End Domestic Violence hosts tech talks frequently where they have tech experts talk about ways technology can be used to abuse or stalk and how to strategize safety.

For more information regarding tips on how to stay safe from stalking and technology abuse the Safety Net Project through the National Network to End Domestic Violence has a variety of information available online at their website All of this information is available free of charge and can be accessed by anyone. Please take the time to check this site out for yourself and your loved ones. Dating violence affects all of us regardless of social economic status, gender, race, education, or background. It is up to all of us to stop it.

Talking to your teen about what is acceptable and unacceptable in relationships is crucial in protecting them and safeguarding them from toxic friends and dating partners. Learning healthy boundaries and communication skills help keep them free from violence. People need to know how they expect others to treat them and be held to that standard. Everyone has a limit to what they are willing to accept, and if you keep changing that limit for someone you care about you may lose all control over how you allow them to treat you. Never lose sight of your limit. You have the right to end conversations, walk away, and stop someone from harming you. You do not have to be confrontational or combative to do this, but you must be firm in these boundaries and hold the other party accountable when a boundary is crossed.

If you or someone you know has experienced intimate partner violence or gender-based violence, please contact Crisis Services of North Alabama locally at 256-574-5826 or at our 24/7 HELPline at 256-716-1000. Love shouldn’t hurt, and if it does, we can help!

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