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Most dwell in the broad expanse between good and vicious: the land of the unhealthy relationship.Danielle Gindele is a digital peer advocate—the person in the ether who responds when teens text or chat to the loveisrespect hotline.
Or is it an act of control to isolate a victim from friends?
“You can see the partner grab their hand in that way,” says New York college student Trendha Hunter, a member of loveisrespect’s teen advisory board.
Abuse occurs in all types of relationships and among people with varying backgrounds of age, race, religion, financial status, sexual orientation and education.
Teen dating abuse is any act that causes harm or threatens the risk of harm to a teen by an individual who is in a current or former dating relationship with that teen.
“You have this unique and powerful connection to students that not a lot of other adults do,” Colomé says.
“An educator can be the guide to recognition of self-worth, and recognition of the resources that are available.” Standing in the doorway to her Wilde Lake High School classroom, Erika Chavarria observes the interactions among teenagers in the halls. “Generally what I’m seeing are relationships that are pretty unhealthy with few instances of equal partnership and respect.” When lovebirds march lockstep, arm in arm, is the closeness a choice?
“Educators should keep that more holistic view of violence in mind.” Digital abuse may be the most invisible to adults, but it is prevalent among the tech generation.
“There is a lot of pressuring for nude pics, or pressure to give up your passwords for all of your social media.
Our definition should include not only physical abuse, but also sexual, verbal and emotional, and digital abuses.
“It can appear in a lot of different ways,” warns Colomé.
Consider that kiss by the lockers: Sign of affection or statement of ownership?