Dating abuse

It's bad for your health

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Dating abuse is considered a form of domestic violence, which is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner. Dating violence is committed by a person in a social, romantic, or intimate relationship with the victim.

Twenty-three percent of women and 14% of men first experience some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age. The risk of having an unhealthy relationship increases when teens believe that dating violence is acceptable. For example, some might think extreme jealousy means their abuser loves them, as opposed to being a sign of insecurity.

Carmen Lappen, the school nurse at South Mountain High School, explained some of the symptoms of dating abuse.

“Extreme jealousy, isolation from friends, manipulative behavior, explosive temper, inflicting physical pain, and . . . making false accusations are the signs you should be aware of, if you’re in a relationship,” she said.

“People abuse to feel in control of people,” said Michelle Hicks, a health science teacher at South. “The abuser has experienced rejection and that’s why they abuse others.”

“There are certain tendencies in personality that contribute to being an abuser,” said Lappen. “(The abuser might) pick fights, feels insulted, be impatient, cruel or insecure, and disrespect boundaries.”

A 2013 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found approximately 10% of high school students reported physical victimization by a partner. Since 2009, there have been 771 domestic-violence related deaths in Arizona, according to the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.

If you’re in an abusive relationship, you should create a plan. Tell someone if you are in danger. Always have a phone that works. Create a code with people you trust to get help without asking and avoid walking and riding alone.

For more help you can go to or call  the Domestic Violence Hotlineat 800-799 -7233. You can also contact Dr. Anne Miles and Debbie Lindley in the South Mountain counseling office.

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Elizabeth Ochoa, reporter

My name is Elizabeth Ochoa and I'm a senior at South Mountain High School. When I started high school, Print journalism was the only way I could learn...

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Dating abuse