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Family Advocacy: Stopping the Violence

By Senior Airman Luke Hill 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

2nd Medical Group Family Advocacy is sharing early warning signs that can help you detect, intervene and speak with a teen about dating violence before it gets out of hand.

Sometimes, people involved in an abusive relationship will remain silent and not ask for help.

“Dating violence and domestic abuse can cause serious physical, emotional and mental damage to developing teens, and as adults, they are more likely to be withdrawn and depressed,” said Russell Cook, Family Advocacy outreach manager.
Youths who are victims of abuse are also more likely to be violent and abusive themselves.

“If you can stop domestic violence at its early stages and prevent it from escalating, you can prevent the damage it causes and break the destructive cycle,” said Cook.
It is important to note that each relationship is different, however, the warning signs are generally indicative of abuse.

Extreme mood swings: When somebody expresses extreme or erratic mood swings, it can be a sign of abuse. Victims of abuse may not know how to process the realities of their situation. Having violent outbursts one moment and being quiet and remote the next may be a sign.

Isolation: Young adults that are withdrawn or antisocial for no apparent reason could be a sign of possessiveness or controlling behavior in an abusive relationship. Both abusers and victims may show signs of isolation. If couples don’t display a healthy balance between time spent alone, and time spent with friends or family, it may be a sign of dating violence.

Physical harm: Unexplained physical injuries are often a red flag in abusive relationships. If a person sustains injuries and cannot offer a reasonable explanation about where they came from, it may be an indicator.

Bad grades: School performance is often one of the first things to suffer when people are involved in an abusive relationship. Rather than pay focus on their education, they get caught in the drama of their own relationships. Unexplained drops in grades can also be a red flag.

Sexual Activity: Sex is sometimes used as a form of control in abusive relationships. Victims may feel that they have no choice but to allow sexual advances. When people have sex because they want control or because they fear the consequences of saying no, it can also be a sign.

Youths involved in abusive relationships are more likely to be involved in abusive relationships as adults. Early intervention is the best way to prevent this vicious cycle from happening. Noticing the signs and getting people the help they need can not only heal a wound but can prevent violence in the future by stopping the destructive cycle.

For more information on teen dating violence contact Family Advocacy at 318-456-6595 or the Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate at 318-233-2230.