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Estimates from national studies of teen dating indicate that 1 in 4 teen relationships involve violence.
Dating violence is any form of emotional, verbal, psychological, physical or sexual abuse by a romantic partner. Victims often experience abuse that gets more severe over time as the abuser tries to control or dominate them.
Characteristics of an abusive relationship can include:
- Jealousy and possessiveness
- Name-calling and put-downs
- Controlling behavior
- Pressure to engage in activities (sexual or other)
- Physical threats to hurt you or themselves
- Choking, hitting or other injurious behavior
Fear, threats, shame and the belief that an abuser’s behavior will change often contribute to the victim feeling unsure about talking to someone about his or her situation. It is important to remember that there is support available. No one deserves to feel unsafe in a romantic relationship.
According to estimates from the National Eating Disorders Association, 20 million females and 10 million males suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some point in their lives, including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder or other associated dietary conditions.
Eating disorders involve extreme emotions and behaviors surrounding food and weight issues. They can arise from psychological, emotional, social and familial situations, but have no one reason or cause. By controlling food intake, people with eating disorders attempt to gain control over factors such as low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. Eating disorders can become life threatening, so getting professional help is important.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (GLBTQ) youth are frequently targets of discrimination, violence and bullying/harassment both at school and in the community. Societal prejudice and disapproval from loved ones can be isolating and hurtful to teens that identify as GLBTQ. Support groups, drop-in centers, activities and counseling services are available to promote acceptance and provide a safe environment of understanding.
Current estimates from the National Coalition of the Homeless suggest there are more than one and a half million children, teens and young adults trying to survive on U.S. streets today.
Runaway youth come from every socio-economic and racial group in America. More often than not, youth who are homeless have not chosen to live on the streets. Many homeless youth turn to the streets because of a combination of abuse, family problems and dysfunction within their homes that cause them to feel unsafe. Drop-in centers, homeless shelters, hot meal programs, case management and other services are available to help youth take care of themselves and/or get off the streets.
Drop-in centers provide a variety of services to homeless youth. Services often include, but are not limited to, case management, laundry, showers, and hot meals. Transitional housing offers youth a safe place to live while they work toward acquiring necessary life skills, self-sufficiency and gainful employment.
Please be aware that programs often have wait lists for acceptance and most require a referral from a case manager or shelter program.
According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 3 out of 10 girls in the U.S. get pregnant at least once by the age of 20.
Because a woman can get pregnant at any time of the month, abstinence (not having sex) is the only 100% effective method of birth control. If you think you may be pregnant, it’s important to make an appointment to get tested by a health care professional as home pregnancy kits are not always accurate. In Washington State, teens 13 years and older do not need a parent’s/legal guardian’s permission to be tested for pregnancy or STDs, or to access birth control methods. If you are pregnant, seek emotional support from someone you trust and talk with a medical professional about your options.
By the age of 18, 1 of every 4 girls and 1 of every 6 boys has been sexually assaulted.
– HARBORVIEW CENTER FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT AND TRAUMATIC STRESS
Due to the violence that often accompanies a rape or sexual assault, it is important for a victim to go to the emergency department of their local hospital to be examined for injuries. At the hospital, a social worker will discuss a victim’s options, including that of evidence collection. Because of this, it is helpful if the victim does not shower, clean up or change clothes before having an exam, as doing so may remove any remaining evidence.
Additionally, the doctor can discuss medications that are available to reduce the chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or getting pregnant. If the victim is under the age of 18, the law requires the police to be notified. However, going to the hospital and submitting a report does not necessarily mean that charges must be filed against the perpetrator or that participation in a legal case must occur. Counselors can talk about available alternatives and help the victim decide what the best choice is going to be for the individual.
Compared to older adults, sexually active adolescents and young adults are at a higher risk for acquiring STIs. Recent estimates suggest that 15-24 year olds acquire nearly half of all new STIs.
– CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL
Many teens are unaware of the dangers associated with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and how to prevent or identify them. Talking with your partner about STIs and getting tested regularly are important parts of being sexually active.
Myths exist regarding all STIs, but especially Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). You cannot get HIV from hugging, drinking out of a shared glass or using a public toilet. There are three primary ways of contracting HIV:
- Unprotected sex with an infected individual
- Sharing needles
- From mother to unborn child