Understanding Teen Dating Violence

Dani Maresma (@danimaresma)

TW: Teen Dating Violence | Abuse

In this month of #TeenDatingViolenceAwareness, this is to nurture a kinder world for teenagers where they can hold healthy ideas of love, dating, and relationships.

What is the difference between teen and adult dating violence?

Being more vulnerable & at greater risk, violence threatens teens more gravely. When experienced so early in life, it becomes difficult for teenagers to leave/not expect violence in relationships. It almost creates a ‘necessity’ for them to look for intimacy in toxic power dynamics because that is how they have known them to work.

How does social media influence teen dating violence?

Social media can bestow plentiful spaces for violence. It can be employed to harm, scare, and diminish individuals — usually young girls — which often go unaddressed for the fear of society, lack of support, & legal inaccessibility. Social media can empower abusers more than its victims.

How does one approach someone suffering from teen dating violence?

It is important to be mindful of how we approach teens (or anyone) suffering from dating violence. Use TREE: Trust, Resources, Empathy, & Empowerment.

Violence sufferers tend to blame their actions and behaviours for the abuse faced. It is crucial to establish trust, fathom their mindset, & equip them with resources/aids they feel comfortable with to eventually empower them.

However, one must never impose solutions on violence sufferers/survivors. Sometimes, just accepting that one needs help is enough!

How does one identify or learn about healthy relationships?

Observing real-life relationship examples bearing distinct power struggles, their consequences on the individuals & society, & learning about gender inequality & inequity over time can enable one to curate intimate ideas of mutual love & respect in different social connections.

What do healthy boundaries in relationships look like?

Healthy boundaries in relationships help in asserting oneself with kindness. Being cognizant of them is only an expression of love!

  • Learning to prioritise oneself.
  • Understanding that some space is essential in all relationships.
  • Saying & accepting ‘No’. Consent is mandatory and goes beyond the bedroom!
  • Communicating honestly.
  • Realising that every relationship is built by two (or more) ‘independent’ individuals.
  • Love is just another term for respect!

(For a Sayfty x Yuvaa Twitter activation #SayftyChat on ‘Teen Dating Violence’ dated February 14, 2022.)

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