What Is Abuse?
Abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual. Physical abuse means any form of violence such as hitting, punching, pulling hair, and kicking. Abuse can occur in both dating relationships and friendships.
Emotional abuse (stuff like teasing, bullying, and humiliating others) can be difficult to recognize because it doesn't leave any visible scars. Threats, intimidation, putdowns, and betrayal are all harmful forms of emotional abuse that can really hurt — not just during the time it's happening, but long after too.
Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, guy or girl. It's never right to be forced into any type of sexual experience that you don't want.
The first step in getting out of an abusive relationship is to realize that you have the right to be treated with respect and not be physically or emotionally harmed by another person.
Signs of Abusive Relationships
Important warning signs that you may be involved in an abusive relationship include when someone:
- harms you physically in any way, including slapping, pushing, grabbing, shaking, smacking, kicking, and punching
- tries to control different aspects of your life, such as how you dress, who you hang out with, and what you say
- frequently humiliates you or makes you feel unworthy (for example, if a partner puts you down but tells you that he or she loves you)
- threatens to harm you, or self-harm, if you leave the relationship
- twists the truth to make you feel you are to blame for your partner's actions
- demands to know where you are at all times
- constantly becomes jealous or angry when you want to spend time with your friends
Unwanted sexual advances that make you uncomfortable are also red flags that the relationship needs to focus more on respect. When someone says stuff like "If you loved me, you would . . . " that's also a warning of possible abuse, and is a sign that your partner is trying to manipulate you. A statement like this is controlling and is used by people who are only concerned about getting what they want — not caring about what you want. Trust your intuition. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.