Although National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month is about halfway over, there is still plenty of work to be done in order to help all teens end their struggle with dating violence.
In the last part of a three-part series exploring teen dating violence and its effect on mental health, experts discuss ways to help teens get out of a violent dating situation, how to recover after teen dating violence (including coping tips), and how to end teen dating violence overall.
Sheela Raja, a clinical psychologist and author of Overcoming Trauma and PTSD said in an email that if you find yourself in a dating violence situation, it’s necessary to do careful planning in order to get out.
“Some studies suggest that women are most likely to be murdered at the point of leaving a violent relationship,” Raja said.
“It is important for a woman to plan ahead, seeking help from local domestic violence shelters and advocates. She can also seek help through the national domestic violence hotlines.”
Once you do get out, there is generally a recovery process to go through. Here are three aspects of recovery that women will have to work on once they’re out of an abusive relationship, according to Raja:
1) “It is important for women to understand the cycle of abuse and not blame themselves. No one deserves to be abused.”
2) “After leaving an abusive relationship, it is also important for women to begin to make their own decisions financially and in relationships.”
3) “Women can work with a trained therapist to try to learn how to set limits in relationships and also manage feelings of anxiety, depression and deal with negative ways of coping with those feelings (substance-abuse, etc.).”
Raja also said there are ways we can help end dating violence in our society:
1) “I think we need to talk to our teens about not confusing jealousy and control with love.”
2) “I also think we need to use popular media as a teaching point. For example, talk to your daughters about Rihanna and Chris Brown.”
3) “Set a good role model for [teens].