I have a right to have my own
friends and hobbies.
I have a right to speak my mind, even if it means disagreeing with my
I have a right to change my mind.
I have a right to express my feelings.
I have a right to decide where
I go and what I do on a date.
I have a right to refuse to do anything that makes me feel
I have a right to pursue my dreams.
I have a right to live without
fear of my partner.
I have a right to end the
relationship at any time. The CARA staff would like
to thank the "Volunteer Club of Cape May Tech" for their
participation in the Clothesline Project and display for Teen
Dating Violence Awareness Month.
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Physical abuse in a
relationship rarely starts out as severe violence. Some behaviors
that show the possibility that a dating partner may eventually become
physically violence may include extreme jealousy, blaming others for all
problems, never being able to admit to wrongdoing, cruelty to animals,
and holding rigid beliefs about sex roles for men and women. The
following stories show some warning signs that a boyfriend may get more
controlling or violent.
Jealousy: ďMy boyfriend is really crazy
about me. He just hates it when I talk to other guys. I tell him theyíre
just friends, but he says theyíre all after me. One time we got into a
fight because he saw me sitting with another guy in the cafeteria. I
tried to tell him we were just studying for a math test, but he said I
was lying and slapped me. I guess he gets jealous because he loves me so
If someone is jealous we often think itís a
complimentólike itís his way of showing he cares. Itís normal to
feel jealous now and then, but we canít keep someone from having other
friends. No one has the right to control whom we see or whom we choose
as friends. A slap (or any kind of violence) is not a sign of love and
affection. Itís a sign of control and no one deserves it. We have no
right to control what someone does by threatening or hurting them. When
we get so mad we want to hit somebody, we should walk away from the
situation. When we cool off we can try talking about what happened.
Using Anger and Control: ďLast night I
went out for pizza with my girlfriend. She wanted to go to a party at a
guyís house, but I wasnít really up for it. She said she was going no
matter what I did, so I grabbed her arm and told her she couldnít leave
me with nothing to do. She started walking away, so I pulled her hair
and yanked her around. She ran away, yelling she never wanted to
see me again.Ē Anyone can get frustrated when things donít go their way,
but abusing people we care about to get what we want is never okay.
Being hurt by a friendís words or actions doesnít justify using physical
force. If you canít handle the situation, walk away and talk it out at
another time. No one has the right to make decisions for another person.
Itís okay to end a relationship with someone who tries to control you
Abuse at Home: ďMy dad expects my mom to
be there when he gets home from work. The other night she had to work
overtime, so when she came home she went straight to bed. Dad followed
her, screaming that heís sick of her not doing what sheís supposed to.
Then he beat her up and stormed out. Later he apologized and promised it
wouldnít happen again, but it always does. Thatís just the way he is.Ē
Itís normal for parents to get angry sometimes and argue. But hurting or
hitting another adult, teenager, or child is wrong. It fact, itís
against the law. Hitting people never makes problems go way, and someone
can get seriously hurt or even die. If your father or your motherís
partner uses violence, they are choosing this behavior to try to control
things because they think they have a right to do so. This is wrong. You
can choose other ways to solve problems and negotiate in your
Arguments in relationships
are normal, but using physical violence is never okay. A healthy
relationship is one in which partners treat each other with respect,
support each otherís goals in life, and expect each other to have their
own opinions, feelings, friends, and activities. In an equal
relationship decisions are made together, both partners make compromises
and admit mistakes, and communication is open and truthful.
Girls: Does your boyfriend strike out at
you or make you feel afraid or uncomfortable? Do you change your
behavior to try to keep him happy? Are you afraid you will get hurt if
you try to end the relationship? Itís important to know that no one has
the right to hurt you as a way to control you. Itís against the law for
someone to use violence against you. If you get assaulted you can call
the police. If you are being abused, talk to a trusted friend or family
member, counselor, teacher, or call a battered womenís program in your
area. Itís also not okay to treat your boyfriend in abusive ways.
Boys: Do you have a problem controlling
your anger? Have you hit or hurt someone you care about? Have you lost
friends because of the abusive way you acted? Itís important for you to
reject the idea that physical abuse is okayóbefore it gets worse. If you
are abusive to a girlfriend, stop it now. Talk to a school counselor and
ask for help to change your behavior. Itís also not okay for your
girlfriend to treat you in abusive ways.