Love Is Not Abuse

I can remember it like it was yesterday. The abuse started at such a young age. Or at least I thought it was a young age, 15 to be exact. The first punch went smack dab across my nose. It sent me bleeding to the hospital with a fractured nose. I did nothing. I told others that I had run into a door.

Did I actually think they believed me?

I can’t answer that question now, but I would have to say that they HAD to believe me. I am sure they didn’t want to announce that they had a 15 year old runaway in the ER with a broken nose from a boy she had been dating.

I now wonder how many teens, runaways or not, are living with this. I came across a wonderful website called Love is Respect. A safe place for teen, both boys and girls, to go when they feel in trouble or just want to check out certain signs of abuse. They also have an escape button should they ever encounter an incident while they are online.

They have celebrities from Jaslene Gonzalez to Camille Winbush talking about their own abusive relationships and how they escaped them.Dating abuse can happen to anyone, at any age, and even occur in same sex relationships. Teens are always looking for ways to get help. Here they provide help for them and the many different ways to find help.

I came across the Teen Dating Bill of Rights on their website. I loved them so much I had to share. These Bill of Rights should be followed by us all. Everyone of us should allow ourselves to make a promise to follow these simple steps. They are not even steps but instead a promise to love ourselves and to love others. To treat each other with RESPECT.

Teen Dating Bill of Rights and Pledge

I have the right:

  • To always be treated with respect.
  • To be in a healthy relationship.
  • To not be hurt physically or emotionally.
  • To refuse sex or affection at anytime.
  • To have friends and activities apart from my boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • To end a relationship.

I pledge to:

  • Always treat my boyfriend or girlfriend with respect.
  • Never hurt my boyfriend or girlfriend physically, verbally, or emotionally.
  • Respect my girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s decisions concerning sex and affection.
  • Not be controlling or manipulative in my relationship.
  • Accept responsibility for myself and my actions.

Let’s all remember to love one another. Lets remember to show our teens how to love each other. Each one of us sets an example everyday by loving and respecting ourselves.

WE NEED TO TEACH OUR KIDS THIS.

If we don’t respect ourselves they certainly will not respect themselves or each other. I leave you with a video I found on Love is Respect.org. I have heard these comments, each one, so many times in my life that they are normal conversations to me. Lets make sure they don’t become “normal conversations” to our children. Time is running out.

Tracy Sig

3 Responses to “Love Is Not Abuse”

  1. stephanie August 28, 2008 at 5:47 am #

    You are so strong! I love you, thank you for sharing your story and making a difference:)

  2. Sue August 28, 2008 at 6:22 pm #

    I totally loved it bumped into it and ran to get my 15 year old son in there to read together with me. I am always talking to him about respecting others, being polite. He hasn’t hit the girl stage yet but when he does. I want to make sure that he is aware of how to treat a lady. Thank you!!

  3. Jo August 31, 2008 at 8:09 pm #

    Thank you! This is hard but I was one of those girls. I don’t remember the first time he hit me, the first time he screamed at me til I cried, or the first time he took what he wanted from my body. I don’t remember the first time he cheated on me, Or the first time I felt like I wanted to die because of him, and I don’t know why I didn’t tell anyone. I was 15. He was the first boy I’d ever dated, the first kiss, the one who has my virginity. He was the one I will spend the rest of my life trying to forget. The one I’ve been talking about in therapy for years. The one my friends would kill if they ever saw him again. I was told once, a year after he left me emotionally broken and physically abused, by a good friend, “We knew something was going on, but we had no idea how bad it really was for you.” We really do need to get the word out about this. How many young girls have been killed by their boyfriends? And how many more will have to die before people begin to see that domestic violence is most prevalent in teens and young adults? We think we have to be tough, we have to be strong. We as women are taught that if we are good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, he will love us enough to stop… That simply isn’t true. It was never true. It never will be true. Thank You.

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