Love Shouldn’t Hurt – Is Your Relationship Healthy?


If you could identify with this video from the youth organization Reel Grrls, you’re not alone.  Relationships can be fun, exciting, sexy.  Unfortunately, too many people are hurt by those they date.

In 2010, the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) found that  in the U.S., someone experiences rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner every 24 minutes. And  in a study of Boston teens, researcher Elizabeth Miller found that 26% reported that their partners were trying to get them pregnant against their will (a major cause of unintended pregnancy among teens.

How do you know if your relationship is healthy?

The San Francisco Adolescent Health Working Group, which defines relationship violence as “a pattern of violence someone uses against their boyfriend, girlfriend, or date and it includes emotional, verbal, physical, and sexual abuse,”  has a short quiz that can help you figure out if your relationship is abusive:

  1. Are you afraid of your partner or afraid of what your partner will do if you end your relationship?
  2. Does your partner call you names, make you feel stupid, or tell you that you can’t do anything right?
  3. Is your partner extremely jealous?
  4. Does your partner try to limit where you go or who you talk to?
  5. Do you feel cut off from your friends or family because of your partner?
  6. Do you feel threatened by your partner if you say no to touching or sex?
  7. Has your partner ever blamed you for his/her violent actions?
  8. Has your partner ever shoved, hit, kicked, held you down, or physically hurt you on purpose?
  9. Is your partner really nice sometimes and really mean other times as if she/he has 2 different personalities?
  10. Does your partner make frequent promises to change and never hurt you again?

If you answered “YES” to any of the above questions, your partner is being abusive towards you. It is very important for you to be safe and reach out for help.

You deserve a healthy relationship!

Talk with your parent, family member, teacher, counselor, doctor/nurse, clergy member, or other trusted adult. The less isolated you are, the less op- portunity the abusive person has to hurt you.  Also, seek help from professionals. Go to places such as school health centers or counseling offices, clinics, youth or faith-based organizations, community centers and/or call a hotline.

Resources

  • Download this fact sheet from the Adolescent Health Working Group for more tips on how to protect yourself
  • If you live in San Francisco, these handouts from LEAP (Looking to End Abuse Permanently), can help you make a safety plan: English | Chinese | Spanish
  • National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
  • Rape Abuse Incest National Network: 1-800-656-HOPE
  • Love is Not Abuse: www.loveisnotabuse.com

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