A Disturbing Pattern
Young women between the ages of 18 - 24 are three times more likely to be abused by an intimate partner, especially in cases where they don't have a lot of relationships with other women.
Even when they do, only 33% of young women tell anyone about the abuse they experience when it happens.
They might be confused or even ashamed. Young women in this situation often blame themselves or think that something they did caused them to deserve the abuse they experienced.
Here's what you should look out for:
You may find downloading "The Healthy Relationship Check-Up" resource helpful for your daughter. This resource can serve as a valuable tool to kickstart the conversation and better understand her experiences.
If you suspect that your daughter is in an abusive relationship, it's crucial to take the following steps to support and protect them:
Seek professional help: Start with you, the parent consulting with a professional who can provide guidance and resources. Many helpful resources, including those linked in this blog below, can assist you in determining if your child is in an abusive relationship.
Listen and offer support: Let your child know that you are there for them unconditionally. Listen attentively to their experiences without passing judgment. Providing a safe, non-judgmental space enables them to trust and confide in you.
Focus on the experience, not the person involved: Instead of blaming or criticizing the person your child is involved with, focus on understanding and addressing the abusive behavior. By doing so, you help your child separate their self-worth from the abusive relationship.
Avoid ultimatums: Refrain from issuing ultimatums, such as demanding your child break up with their partner. Imposing ultimatums can reinforce the control of the abusive partner and isolate your child further. Instead, be prepared to discuss and explore various options together.
Be prepared to help on their terms: Each individual and situation is unique. Be ready to support your child in a way that aligns with their needs and decisions. Respecting their autonomy and involving them in the decision-making process can empower them to reclaim control of their lives.
Build up your child's confidence and self-esteem: After experiencing abuse, your child's confidence and self-esteem may have been significantly affected. It is crucial to help them rebuild their sense of self-worth. Encourage them to make healthy decisions, emphasize their choices, and consistently reinforce your support.
There are several resources available to assist you in supporting your child in an abusive or dating violence situation.
LoveIsRespect.org is a recommended resource due to its inclusivity and various methods of contact, including the website, texting LOVEIS to 22522, or calling 1-866-331-9474.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE is another valuable resource. These resources can help you navigate the situation and provide the necessary support for your child's well-being and safety.