Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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It has been estimated that 1 out of every 3 high school students has experienced emotional, physical, mental, or sexual abuse in a relationship. Identifying abuse can be a hard task for anyone, but because of the lack of relationship experience high schoolers have, it’s nearly impossible. Often times, things we consider to be love are actually abusive or controlling behaviors under the surface. Due to the increase in social media presence, these abusive behaviors can be watered down into ideas such as “Oh, they are just acting like that because they care.” Everyone deserves to be in a healthy relationship. It is important that we all take an active stand against dating violence to put an end to abuse and control. We can create the relationships that we all deserve!

What is a healthy relationship?

Healthy.RelationshipThere is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but there are relationships that are perfect most of the time. A healthy relationship is one that makes you feel good almost all of the time and generally bring you up, not down. Never in a relationship should you feel unsafe or invalidated. Feeling a lack of confidence or feeling unsupported by your partner may be a warning sign that there are unhealthy behaviors in your relationship. Click on the following link to learn more about the 10 characteristics of a healthy relationship.

Dynamics of an unhealthy relationship

Many times, abusive behaviors are used to gain power or control and can have a negative impact on your mental health or day to day life. In some cases, these unhealthy behaviors might escalate to violence. If you feel like something might be “off” in your relationship, trust your gut and get help. Click the following link to learn about the 10 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship.

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Where can I get help?

There are many resources in and around Allegany County that can help you.

ACCORD offers services for victims of domestic violence. These services include safety planning, help to file an Order of Protection, court advocacy and referrals to resources that could benefit you or a friend. The Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week- (800) 593-5322. Or you may contact ACCORD by visiting the ACCESS Center at 84 Schuyler Street, Belmont, NY, or by calling (585) 268-7605, Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am- 4:30 pm and on Fridays from 8:00 am- 3:30 pm.

You can also seek help with your school guidance counselor or any other trusted adult.

The most important thing is to seek help as soon as you feel you need it. You never know how far the abuse will escalate.

How do I talk to a friend who I think might be in an abusive relationship?

-Calmly start the conversation on a positive note

-Be supportive

-Focus on the unhealthy behaviors

-Keep the conversation friendly, not preachy

-Don’t place the blame on your friend

-Allow your friend to make their own decisions

-Offer solutions to your friend

-Expect more conversations in the future

If you feel like your friend is in immediate danger never hesitate to contact a trusted adult or law enforcement.

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