Dating can be fun. If you fall in love, it can be the best. The downside: For some of us, what starts as fun or turns to love doesn’t stay. Things can change quickly. Abuse or rape happens.
Abuse can come on slowly or suddenly. It can look different for different people. It might start with trying to control you. It might be insulting. It might be physical. It might mean pressure to have sex. It might mean texts a hundred times a day to keep tabs on you. Maybe it means losing your friends. Maybe it means feeling scared and stuck.
There is help available, and there are things you can do to protect yourself. Here are just a few:
- Know that you are not responsible for the abuse or the violence. Be aware, it will probably happen again and get worse over time.
- Find someone you trust who you can talk to. This may be a friend, teacher, counselor, your parents or a hotline person. (314.531.2003)
- Think of things to do to be safe if your partner begins to act violent or abusive. Maybe calling a friend to give you a ride home. Getting to a public location.
- Opening a door or getting to a room where there are other people.
It can feel uncomfortable standing up for yourself, but being uncomfortable is better than being abused or ultimately losing your life. Safe Connections offers free one-on-one therapy and support groups at St. Louis County schools and here at our center in St. Louis City for anyone hurt or struggling with dating violence, sexual assault/rape or witnessing violence in your home.
Not sure what to do? You can call our 24-Hour Crisis Helpline any time. Additional local and online resources for teens are also listed below.
Helplines / Hotlines
Safe Connections 24-Hour Crisis Helpline – 314.531.2003
Youth In Need 24 Hour Help Line – 636.946.3771
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline – 888.331.9474
Kids Under Twenty One (KUTO) – 314.644.5886
Child Abuse Hotline – 800.392.3738
St. Louis Regional Sexual Assault Hotline – 314.531.7273
Life Crisis—Suicide/Crisis Hotline – 314.647.4357
Domestic Violence and Rape Hotline – 800.392.0210
National Runaway Switchboard – 800.786.2929
United Way Information Line – 211
Websites for Teens
This internet site provides bullying information and guidelines for dealing with all aspects of bullying. Help for parents, students, legal advice, and school projects.
Family Watch Dog
This is a national sex offender website that allows people to search by their address to locate sex offenders in their neighborhoods. Visitors can also take quizzes and view safety strategies. A great site for teens and parents alike.
This website offers lots of cool information for girls to use. Whether you’re stressed out about school or just need to know more about healthy relationships. This website covers it all.
Love Is Not Abuse
This site was launched by Liz Claiborne, Inc. to heighten awareness of, and encourage social change on relationship violence: sexual violence, domestic abuse, elder abuse.
Men Can Stop Rape
A website that supports young men’s capacity to challenge harmful aspects of traditional masculinity, to value alternative visions of male strength, and to embrace their vital role as allies with women and girls in fostering healthy relationships and gender equity.
NATIONAL TEEN DATING ABUSE HELPLINE
Telephone and Web-based interactive technology to reach teens and young adults experiencing dating abuse. Trained peer volunteers between ages of 18 and 24 answer the helpline during peak hours.
National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women (VAWnet)
Provides public web based collection of advocacy-based electronic resources on domestic and sexual violence. Materials include research papers, fact sheets, federal and state funding information and program development materials.
This site, provided by the National Coalition for gay, lesbian, bisexual & Transgender youth, offers information about community role models, resources, and opportunities for youth to communicate with each other about sexual orientation.
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR)
Innovative and creative public awareness materials to educate pre-teens and teens about sexual violence.
The Rape Abuse Incest National Network is the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization.
SafePlace Teen Site
This site is hosted by SafePlace: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survival Center in Austin, Texas and provides information on dating and sexual violence, sexual harassment, and healthy relationships.
This site provides an on-line forum specifically for teenage girls to communicate about issues that are important to them, including love and friendship.