Dating for teens can be an excellent part of development as well as an exciting part of becoming an adult. While many teens learn the basics of dating and courtship in their awkward adolescent years, parents may want to be more watchful of the signs of abusive relationships in teen dating situations.
Learning the value of a healthy relationship and how to create healthy dating relationships should be one of the conversations a parent has with their teen. Teen dating violence is more common than we may think and research estimates that between one in four girls between 11 and 15 have experienced some type of emotional abuse, sexual abuse or physical abuse in a relationship. Teen dating violence has no age, race, or gender attached to it. Even teens that do not come from a family of violent behavior are still at risk of becoming victims of teen dating violence.
Could the lack of education as well as a belief in young teens that these abusive behaviors are perceived as acceptable and tolerated in relationships?
In He Loves Me Not: Buried Tears of Betrayed Love I shared my own story of teen dating violence as a means of awareness. I encountered traumatic abuse in a relationship as a teen and knew something wasn’t right but did not know how to get out of the relationship. Awareness and education in these portrayals of unhealthy relationships can help to prevent teens from entering into abusive relationships and condoning this behavior in their relationships.
When I saw my boyfriend as a young teen beginning to elicit violent behavior I was not about to continue on into an abusive relationship or condone this type of behavior for the future. I noted in my book He Loves Me Not: Buried Tears of Betrayed Love of the warning signs and dramatic encounters that made me realize it was time to get out of this relationship.
Here is a passage from the book titled “The Warning”:
“It was during the summer that his ex-girlfriend came to Dallas from Houston with their one-year-old daughter, Mai. She was now staying with Mel’s family along with her daughter in this two-bedroom apartment.
One weekend while over to his place, his mother and sister had gone out. It was Mel, Mai, his ex-girlfriend and me at the house alone. I stepped outside for a few minutes just to get some air. I was standing on the porch when I heard screams. It was a woman’s voice coming from inside the house. I couldn’t make out what was being said but quickly rushed back in to see what was going on. When I entered the bedroom I witnessed Mel landing his fist straight into his ex-girlfriend’s face as if she was a guy. She was a small petite lady. By the looks of the hard blows Mel was throwing, I knew he had broken her jaw. I yelled for him to stop and began to pull him off of her. He stopped and stormed out of the house not saying a word.
The ex-girlfriend staggered to her feet holding her face as she said these words to me, “I’ll give him three months and he’ll be doing the same thing to you.” In my mind when she began to speak I was prepared for something more like, “Thanks for helping me” or “I’m sorry you had to see this”, but instead she was actually giving me a warning. My ears were still ringing from the screams she sirened out and I couldn’t grasp an understanding of what just happened. “
Reading literature just like this is designed to improve the awareness of abusive relationships. I hope that a younger woman reading through my words will start to put the pieces together and get out before it's too late. I was only 15 years old and wasn't able to escape before severe trauma occurred. I hope this story will serve as a memoir for the future of other teens to leave unhealthy relationships and get out before the abuse starts.
Kimesha Coleman is a Certified Results coach and self-esteem enhancement expert that works with teens and women to increase their self-esteem and success in their relationship, career and business. Overcoming teen dating violence and domestic violence gave Kimesha the charge and dedication to empower other women to live freely and follow their dreams despite their obstacles.