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Sexual Assault Awareness Month – Please reach out! April 5, 2012

Posted by Kate in Sexual Assault.
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To follow is a suggested letter to the editor crafted by the National Sexual Violnence Resource Center.  It is well written and powerful.  If you can, please use this as a basis for writing to your local newspaper – customize it however you wish for your area!

Let’s be honest, “it” is not an easy subject to talk about. Most of us are uncomfortable talking about sex. But let’s take a moment and get past the blushing, because this conversation is so important.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this April, communities across the country are proclaiming “It’s time … to talk about it!” This year’s campaign encourages individuals and communities to bring healthy sexuality into the conversation on how we connect with and respect one another in order to prevent sexual violence.

By talking about “it” we are making the connection that promoting healthy behaviors encourages relationships that are consensual, respectful and informed. That is what healthy sexuality is about. Healthy sexuality is having the knowledge and power to express sexuality in ways that enrich our lives. Healthy sexuality is free from coercion and violence.

It is important to understand that sexuality is much more than sex. Healthy sexuality is emotional, social, cultural and physical. It is our values, attitudes, feelings, interactions and behaviors. It changes with time and experience.

Individuals need accurate information about relationships, sexuality and positive behaviors to ensure the opportunity to make healthy sexual choices. These choices impact our lives, loved ones, communities and society.

All of us have a role in building safe, healthy relationships and communities. When we start the conversation about healthy sexuality, we raise awareness. Prevent sexual violence by talking about “it.”

It’s time … to talk about it!

Your name here,

Your city here

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month October 12, 2011

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THE WHITE HOUSE – Office of the Press Secretary – For Immediate Release October 3, 2011

 

NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH, 2011

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

A PROCLAMATION

 

During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recognize the significant achievements we have made in reducing domestic violence in America, and we recommit ourselves to the important work still before us. Despite tremendous progress, an average of three women in America die as a result of domestic violence each day. One in four women and one in thirteen men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. These statistics are even more sobering when we consider that domestic violence often goes unreported.

 

The ramifications of domestic violence are staggering. Young women are among the most vulnerable, suffering the highest rates of intimate partner violence. Exposure to domestic violence puts our young men and women in danger of long-term physical, psychological, and emotional harm. Children who experience domestic violence are at a higher risk for failure in school, emotional disorders, and substance abuse, and are more likely to perpetuate the cycle of violence themselves later in life.

 

My Administration is working not only to curb domestic violence, but to bring it to an end. Last year, we announced an unprecedented coordinated strategy across Federal agencies to prevent and stop violence against women. We are empowering survivors to break the cycle of abuse with programs to help them become financially independent. We have prevented victims of domestic violence from being evicted or denied assisted housing after abuse. And we are promoting tools for better enforcement of protective orders, while helping survivors gain access to legal representation.

 

In addition, as part of the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services announced historic new guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health services without additional cost, including domestic violence screening and counseling. The Affordable Care Act also ensures that insurance companies can no longer classify domestic violence as a pre-existing condition.

 

Last December, I reauthorized the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, giving communities life-saving tools to help identify and treat child abuse or neglect. It also supports shelters, service programs, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline, linking tens of thousands of victims every month to the resources needed to reach safety. I encourage victims, their loved ones, and concerned citizens to use this hotline for more information at 1-800-799-SAFE or visit http://www.TheHotline.org.

 

 

This is not just a job for government; it is a job for all of us. Vice President Joe Biden’s “1is2many” initiative reminds us that everyone has a part to play in ending violence against youth. By engaging men and women, mothers and fathers, and schools and universities in the fight, we can teach our children about healthy relationships. We are asking everyone to play an active role in preventing and ending domestic violence, by stepping up to stop violence when they see it. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we recommit to making sure that no one suffers alone, and to assisting those who need help in reaching a safer tomorrow.

 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2011 as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support local efforts to assist victims of these crimes in finding the help and healing they need.

 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this

 

third day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

 

BARACK OBAMA

Intimate Partner Rape October 7, 2011

Posted by Kate in Uncategorized.
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© Pandora’s Aquarium 2008

In this article we’ll look at the commonality of partner rape, other forms of abuse that may also happen, and a little on why abusers rape and excuses they make. If you are a survivor new to acknowledging partner rape and healing, the following may help to “normalize” your experiences. Please be aware that although the victims are identified as female, and perpetrators male, these may be interchangeable depending on your situation.


HOW COMMON IS PARTNER RAPE?


If you are a survivor, you are certainly not alone. Researchers have been telling us about marital/partner rape for more than 25 years, and the news is not good: Partner rape is incredibly common. Let’s have a look at the stats:

    • In 2006 the Australian Bureau published the results of the Personal Safety Survey. According to the Survey, an estimated 27,400 women in Australia have experienced sexual assault by their current partner, and 272,300 by a previous partner. According to the Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault (ACCSA) these figures are likely to be underestimates (http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/PrimaryMainFeatures/4906.0?OpenDocument)
    • In 1975, the results of an American study on many rape situations were published. Diana Russell was so appalled by her findings on rape in marriage that she decided to conduct a research project on this area alone. From the 930 interviews conducted with women from a cross section of race and class, Russell concluded that rape in marriage was the most common yet most neglected area of sexual violence (Russell, Diana E.H. ‘Rape in Marriage’ MacMillan Publishing Company, USA 1990)
    • In 1994, Patricia Easteal, then Senior Criminologist at the Australian Institute of Criminology, published the results of survey on sexual assault in many settings. The respondents were survivors of numerous forms of sexual assault. Of these, 10.4% had been raped by husbands or de-factos, with a further 2.3 per cent raped by estranged husbands/defactos. 5.5 percent were raped by non-cohabiting boyfriends (Easteal, P. “Voices of the Survivors”, Spinifex Press, North Melbourne, 1994.)
    • David Finkelhor & Kersti Yllo’s famous 1985 study estimated that 10 to 14 per cent of all married women have been or will be raped by their spouses .(Finkelhor, D. and Yllo, K., “License to Rape”, The Free Press, New York 1985)
    • In the UK, statistics disseminated by the Rape Crisis Federation yield the information that the most common rapists are current and ex-husbands or partners. (Myhill & Allen, Rape and Sexual Assault of Women: Findings from the British Crime Survey)
    • Figures on teenage girls in danger from boyfriends caused shock in research communities in the 1980’s. Teen Dating violence, which often involves rape and sexual assault, continues to be on the rise. Approximately one in ten high school students experiences dating violence – that figure is 22% in college students (Wilson, K.J., When Violence Begins at Home: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Ending Domestic Abuse, Hunter House Inc .Publishers, California, 1997) For more figures on teen dating violence, go here.
  • Other figures estimate that one in seven women is raped by a sexual intimate.

PARTNER RAPE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 

Sexual abuse and assault happen in relationships that may not be overtly abusive. However, partner rape itself is domestic violence, and since it is an act of control, we shouldn’t be surprised when it coexists with other forms of abusive control.

These might be any of the below:

  • Physical abuse i.e. battery. Studies do indicate that the tendency toward partner rape increases significantly in men who batter. (Bergen, R, Wife Rape: Understanding the Response of Survivors and Service Providers, Sage Publications, California, 1996) Physical abuse also takes the form of throwing objects, hurting pets, or pushing and shoving.
  • Emotional Abuse: Putdowns, emotional blackmail, shaming, making jokes at your expense, withdrawing affection as punishment, deliberately embarrassing you
  • Mental Abuse: Negative comments about your intelligence, “mind-games” such as insisting something didn’t happen when you know it did; calling you crazy or trying to drive you crazy, “second-guessing” you.
  • Social Abuse: Insisting on accompanying you on all social outings or refusal to allow you to go at all; isolating you from family and friends.
  • Financial Abuse: Insisting that you work in the family business for no money; preventing you from earning your own money, making you account for every cent, giving you an “Allowance”, controlling any money you make.
  • Spiritual Abuse: Mocking your religion, insisting that you embrace his religion, preventing you from going to church, distorting and quoting scripture to manipulate you into submission
  • Using “Male Privilege“: Claiming the right to do as he pleases while the same right doesn’t extend to you because you’re a woman. Male privilege may also be a part of sexual assault; for example he may say that as your husband, it’s his right to have you whenever he wants you.

If you’ve experienced these other forms of abuse, you may have come to doubt your own worth or sanity, and have little self-confidence. But just remember: These are tactics that abusers use to control and intimidate. Whatever you may have come to believe about yourself is a reflection of the abuse, not of truth. Please do think about seeking help – you deserve much better. Nobody has the right to control and hurt you.

(Source: Easteal, P. And McOrmond-Plummer, L, Real Rape Real Pain: Help for Women Sexually Assaulted by Male Partner, Hybrid Publishers, Melbourne, 2006)

TYPES OF PARTNER RAPE

It’s a common misconception that rape – particularly partner rape – is about sex, rather than an act of power, control and violence. Here are common types of partner rape (note: They are NOT excuses for abuser behaviour, and just because an abuser is motivated by, say, power one time doesn’t mean he always is; I can clearly identify times when my ex-partner was motivated either by power or by anger):

  • Power Rape: This happens to “show her who’s boss.” Batterers often want sex after beating their partners, and it’s a means of forcing the woman to forget the fight and make up. It may happen because she said no to sex, or because she wants to leave. It may not be physically violent, but can involve sufficient force to get what he wants. Power rape occurs also when a woman is bullied or intimidated into giving in “to keep the peace.”
  • Anger Rape: Anger rape is often very violent and is carried out in retaliation when a man perceives his partner “deserves” it – perhaps by calling his masculinity into question. It might be a response to her leaving, “flirting”, showing him up in front of others.
  • Sadistic Rape: Where an anger rapist hurts the woman to punish her, in sadistic rape the abuser gets off on causing the pain, fear and humiliation. Cutting, biting, burning, urinating upon the victim or other painful and humiliating treatment characterizes sadistic rape.
  • Obsessive Rape: If you experienced sexual assault from a partner who was obsessed with pornography or forced you into repeated sex-acts that were bizarre or fetishistic in nature, this is characteristic of obsessive rape. It may also be repeated and constant acts of anal or oral rape – something the abuser is fixated with doing.

(Sources: Finkelhor, D. and Yllo, K., License to Rape, The Free Press, New York, 1985; Russell, Diana E.H. Rape in MarriageMacMillan Publishing Company, USA 1990; Easteal, P. and McOrmond-Plummer, L, Real Rape Real Pain: Help for Women Sexually Assaulted by Male Partners, Hybrid Publishers, Melbourne, 2006)

COMMON WAYS THAT ABUSERS AVOID RESPONSIBILITY FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT

  • Denial: Acting as if nothing out of the ordinary happened, boldly stating that it didn’t happen, calling you crazy for saying that it did, saying he doesn’t remember.
  • Rationalization: “You must have wanted it” “You could have stopped me,” “A husband is entitled to it”; Rationalization is also blaming you: ” If you gave me more sex I wouldn’t have to force you” “You are a cocktease”
  • Minimization: I didn’t really hurt you” “You’re making a fuss about nothing” “I just wanted to make love to you.”
  • Claiming Loss of Control: “I was too turned on to stop”, “You make me so angry” [/b]

(Source: Easteal, P. And McOrmond-Plummer, L, Real Rape Real Pain: Help for Women Sexually Assaulted by Male Partners, Hybrid Publishers, Melbourne, 2006)

If you identify with any of the above, please know that there is help available. Don’t be afraid to call domestic violence or sexual assault services- also Pandora’s Aquarium has many survivors of partner rape who will gladly support you.

This article is copyrighted and unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

If you wish to use this article online or in print, please contact us to request permission.  www.pandys.org  PERMISSION RECEIVED FOR THIS REPRINT.

Am I Being Abused? September 21, 2011

Posted by Kate in Domestic Abuse, help a friend.
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Am I Being Abused?

Look over the following questions. Think about how you are being treated and how you treat your partner. Remember, when one person scares, hurts or continually puts down the other person, it’s abuse.

Does your partner…
____ Embarrass or make fun of you in front of your friends or family?
____ Put down your accomplishments or goals?
____ Make you feel like you are unable to make decisions?
____ Use intimidation or threats to gain compliance?
____ Tell you that you are nothing without them?
____ Treat you roughly – grab, push, pinch, shove or hit you?
____ Call, text, or email you several times a day or show up to make sure you are where you said you would be?
____ Use drugs or alcohol as an excuse for saying hurtful things or abusing you?
____ Blame you for how they feel or act?
____ Pressure you sexually for things you don’t want to do?
____ Make you feel like there “is no way out” of the relationship?
____ Prevent you from doing things you want – like spending time with your friends or family?
____ Try to keep you from leaving after a fight or leave you somewhere after a fight to “teach you a lesson”?

Do you…
____ Sometimes feel scared of how your partner will act?
____ Constantly make excuses to other people for your partner’s behavior?
____ Believe that you can help your partner change if only you changed something about yourself?
____ Try not to do anything that would cause conflict or make your partner angry?
____ Always do what your partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
____ Stay with your partner because you are afraid of what your partner would do if you broke-up?

If any of these are happening in your relationship, talk to someone. Without some help, the abuse will continue.  National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

(Adapted from Reading and Teaching Teens to Stop Violence, Nebraska Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition, Lincoln, NE).

1 is 2 Many September 14, 2011

Posted by Kate in Domestic Abuse, Teenage Relationships.
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Our friend Joe Biden has announced a new initiative in honor of the 17th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act.  Please click here for full details.

There is a form to share your feedback at the link above or you can share your ideas on Twitter with the hashtag #1is2many on how to make our schools and campuses safer from domestic violence and dating abuse.  I piped in with the idea for a federal Lindsay Ann Burke Act.

Please get the word out.

The Power and Control Wheel September 6, 2011

Posted by Kate in Domestic Abuse, Uncategorized.
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Above is a small version of the power and control wheel.  To see the larger version, please click here.  It is used to illustrate to victims, therapists, advocates etc. the components of abuse.

The wheel is made up of eight sections:

MALE PRIVILEGE: Treating her like a servant: making all the big decisions, acting like the “master of the castle,” being theone to define men’s and women’s roles. 

COERCION AND THREATS: Making and/or carrying out threats to do something to hurt her.  Threatening to leave her, commit suicide, or report her to welfare. Making her drop charges.  Making her do illegal things.

INTIMIDATION: Making her afraid by using looks, actions, and gestures. Smashing things. Destroying her property. Abusing pets.  Displaying weapons.

EMOTIONAL ABUSE:  Controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, what she reads, and where she goes. Limiting her outside involvement.  Using jealousy to justify actions.

MINIMIZING, DENYING, AND BLAMING:  Making light of the abuse and not taking her concerns about it seriously. Saying the abuse didn’t happen.  Shifting responsibility for abusive behavior. Saying she caused it.

USING CHILDREN: Making her feel guiltyabout the children.  Using children to relay messages.  Using visitation to harass her.  Threatening to take the children away.

ECONOMIC ABUSE:  Preventing her from getting or keeping a job. Making her ask for money. Giving her an allowance. Taking her money.  Not letting her know about or have access to family income.

Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men August 22, 2011

Posted by Kate in Domestic Abuse.
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Bancroft, a former codirector of Emerge, the first U.S. program for abusive men, and a 15-year veteran of work with abusive men, reminds readers that each year in this country, two to four million women are assaulted by their partners and that at least one out of three American women will be a victim of violence by a husband or boyfriend at some point in her life. His valuable resource covers early warning signs, ten abusive personality types, the abusive mentality, problems with getting help from the legal system, and the long, complex process of change. After dispelling 17 myths about abusive personalities, he sheds light on the origin of the abuser’s values and beliefs, which he finds to be a better explanation of abusive behavior than reference to psychological problems. Bancroft extends his approach to problematic gay and lesbian relationships as well, making the book that much more useful and empowering.

He touches on the following theme repeatedly in this book.  The abuser is seeking to CONTROL his partner due to a feeling of ENTITLEMENT.  He cites examples of this from his 15 years of treating abusers.  He also discounts the idea that abusers suffer from mental illness and says that the problem comes from the values and ideas of what the abuser thinks about women.

I begin training with my local women’s abuse center in September and this book was given to me as part of the program.  It is essential reading to understand the crux of the problem.  This book is available for purchase through Amazon by clicking here.

CDC Demonstration Projects – Preventing Intimate Partner Violence in Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations August 11, 2011

Posted by Kate in Domestic Abuse, Prevention, Teenage Relationships.
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The burden of IPV on racial and ethnic minorities is not well documented.  Some population-based studies have demonstrated few differences in the prevalence of IPV among these persons, yet other studies find substantially greater violence among racial and ethnic minorities.  For example, the IPV prevalence rates for whites, African Americans and Hispanics has been demonstrated to be 11%, 25% and 25% respectively.  Some attribute the disparity to economic differences among the groups and may not be intrinsically related to race and ethnicity.

Recognizing the need for IPV prevention and intervention programs that address specific racial/ethnic minority populations the CDC issued a request for application in 2000 for demonstration projects that would develop, implement and evaluate IPV prevention strategies targeted for specific racial/ethnic minorities.  The press release for the launch of this study is: here.

One of the crucial things that all of the programs learned is that the education and prevention programs needed to be customized to address specifics about the community in order for the audience to relate to the material.  For example, in a Native American community where there was an extremely high rate of poverty, a curriculum had an example of an angry boyfriend destroying a CD that was given as a gift.  The students all said they would never do that even in anger because a CD is such a luxury there.  A different hurdle was found in Hispanic communities which had a high number of immigrants.  The cultural norms of what is acceptable behavior differed and this had to be addressed in the curriculum materials.

The overall takeaway from the studies that can be applied to mixed communities as well is that the message has more resonance if it is applicable to the student.  A curriculum that talks about a boy and a girl having an argument while riding in a car when taught in New York City may not feel “right” while in a suburban or rural area this may be a relatable scenario.

The lessons learned from this program are fully documented in the CDC report available here for free: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/pubs/ncipc.aspx Scroll down to intimate partner violence and select the Preventing Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence in Racial/Ethnic Minority Communities document.

Why Can’t My Friend Leave The Abuse? July 27, 2011

Posted by Kate in Domestic Abuse, help a friend.
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It doesn’t make sense – you see your best friend, brother, sister, daughter, son, cousin, relative in tears constantly because of their relationship. You’ve heard their partner call them names, threaten them and then blame your friend or loved one for their harmful behavior. Your friend has become a shell of who they used to be. It is simple to you- break up with the partner and the problem is solved. No more tears, bruises, or heartbreak.
 
It’s just not that easy.

There are many reasons your friend or loved one may be resisting your heartfelt encouragement to break it off with his or her partner:

  • Their partner wasn’t always this way. Keep in mind, your friend or loved one didn’t get into the relationship with someone who said “I am going to call you names, obsessively text you and slaughter your self-esteem.” The relationship probably started off with an awesome first date, but the red flags started showing after your friend or loved one had already developed feelings for their abusive partner. Your friend may still be holding on to an image of their abusive partner from the beginning of the relationship.
  • They think their abusive partner will change. He’s just stressed right now, her parents are really getting to her, it’s only when he’s drunk, she’ll change when things are better. After your friend or loved one is slapped or screamed at, their partner may be coming back and apologizing, promising it will never happen again. Your friend or loved one has invested time and feelings into this relationship and wants it to work out. Your friend may believe that their partner is going to become a different partner and the abuse will stop.
  • They are afraid what’s going to happen after they leave. Abusers, in desperation mode when they sense their partner is going to leave, will escalate the intimidation and violence; even threaten suicide if your friend leaves. The most dangerous time for someone in an abusive relationship is when they are leaving.  It takes, on average, seven or eight attempts for someone to leave their abusive partner.
  • They are still financially or legally tied to their abuser. If your friend lives with the abusive partner, has a child with them or is married to them, then making the decision to cut off the relationship can be even more heart-wrenching. Even if your friend just goes to the same high school or college as their partner, they may still have to see the person who punched them, called them a ‘slut,’ and terrorized them daily again.  No matter what, your friend will have to see the abuser again to sort these matters out- this is terrifying.
  • They still love their partner. This may be the hardest for you to swallow. It doesn’t make sense, but your friend may still have feelings for their abuser. As we said above, their partner wasn’t always this way, and there may be times when the abuser resembles the nicer, gentler person whom your friend or loved one wants to be with.  The emotional ties will still be there, even after the relationship ends.
  • They feel like they have nowhere to turn. You’re frustrated. Your other friends are frustrated. Your friend’s family is frustrated. No one wants to be the shoulder to cry on, when you have already said more times than you count that he or she just needs to move on. You’re sick of it- we get it. But, look, this is when your friend or loved one needs you the most- this is a serious emotional crisis for them, and no one can get through it alone. Start the conversation with “I’m sorry about the things I’ve said in the past, but I want to be here for you in every way that I can. I support and care about you, and this is where I’m coming from.” When they are ready to make the choice to break things off, they will know they can turn to you.

Remember: it takes tremendous amounts of courage to leave an abusive relationship- your friend or loved one needs all the support they can get.

You may have more questions, or you may just need to vent about the situation you’re in with your friend. Call Love Is Respect at 1-866-331-9474.

SOURCE: Love Is Respect

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships for Teens July 13, 2011

Posted by Kate in Domestic Abuse, Teenage Relationships.
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Relationships that occur in the teen years may affect dating relationships later in life. The lessons teens learn today about respect, healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, and what is right or wrong may carry over into future relationships. So it is important for teens to recognize healthy relationships.

What is a Healthy Relationship?

A healthy relationship is free from physical, emotional, and sexual violence. Qualities like respect, good communication, and honesty are important parts of a healthy relationship. Educating teens about the importance and value of respect (both respect for oneself and respect for other people) may enable them to form healthy relationships before they start to date—to prevent dating violence before it starts. Healthy relationships are built on a foundation of respect. Respect is a choice, and when you give it, you are more likely to get it in return. It is important for teens to learn how to treat others the way they want to be treated. Teens also need to recognize that when respect is absent, their relationships may turn from healthy to unhealthy.

The following are characteristics of a healthy dating relationship:
Mutual respect. Respect means that each person values who the other is and understands the other person’s boundaries.
Trust. Partners should choose to trust in each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt.
Honesty. When a dating partner lies, it takes time to rebuild that trust in him or her. Honesty builds trust and strengthens the relationship.
Compromise. In a dating relationship, each partner does not always get his or her way. They should acknowledge different points of view and be willing to give and take.
Individuality. Each partner should not have to compromise who they are, and his or her identity should not be based on their partner’s. Partners should each continue seeing his or her friends or doing the things that he or she loves. They should be supportive if their partner wants to pursue new hobbies or make new friends.
Good communication. Each partner should speak honestly and openly to avoid miscommunication. If a partner needs to sort out his or her feelings first, their partner should respect those wishes and wait until they are ready to talk. •Anger control. We all get angry, but how we express it can affect our relationships with others. Anger can be handled in healthy ways such as taking a deep breath, counting to 10, or talking it out.
Problem solving. Dating partners can learn to solve problems and identify new solutions by breaking a problem into small parts or by talking through the situation.
Fighting fair. Everyone argues at some point, but those who are fair, stick to the subject, and avoid insults are more likely to come up with a possible solution. Partners should take a short break away from each other if the discussion gets too heated.
Understanding. Each partner should take time to understand what the other might be feeling by putting themselves in their shoes.
Self-confidence. When dating partners have confidence in themselves, it can help their relationships with others. It shows that they are calm and comfortable enough to allow others to express their opinions without forcing their own opinions on them.
Being a role model. By embodying what respect means, partners can inspire each other, friends, and family to choose respect, too.

What is an Unhealthy Relationship?

An unhealthy relationship has an imbalance in which one partner tries to exercise control and power over the other through threats, emotional/verbal abuse, or physical or sexual violence. The following qualities may be signs of an unhealthy dating relationship. Although anyone can be involved in a less-than-perfect relationship, these behaviors may be seen as “red flags” that something might be wrong in a relationship.

Control. One dating partner makes all the decisions and tells the other what to do, what to wear, or who to spend time with.
Dependence. One dating partner feels that he or she “cannot live without” the other. He or she may threaten to do something drastic if the relationship ends.
Dishonesty. One dating partner lies to or keeps information from the other. One dating partner steals from the other.
Disrespect. One dating partner makes fun of the opinions and interests of the other partner. He or she may destroy something that belongs to the other dating partner.
Hostility. One dating partner conflicts with or antagonizes the other dating partner. This may lead the other dating partner to “walk on egg shells” to avoid upsetting the other.
Intimidation. One dating partner tries to control aspects of the other’s life by making the other partner fearful or timid. One dating partner may attempt to keep his or her partner from friends and family or threaten violence or a break-up.
Physical violence. One partner uses force to get his or her way (such as hitting, slapping, grabbing, or shoving).
Sexual violence. One dating partner pressures or forces the other into sexual activity against his or her will or without consent.

Source: CDC