Victims of betrayal and emotional abuse often wonder how they can equip their children and teens to engage in healthy relationships.
Anne interviews Sid, teenaged daughter of Dina, who runs Educate and Empower Kids. Sid is a courageous victim of sexual coercion and abuse. She shares her heart wrenching story with empowering tips for mothers of teens. Listen to the free BTR podcast and read the full transcript below for more.
Teens Can Learn That Lying is a Red Flag of Sexual Coercion and Abuse
Sid shares that early on in the relationship, her abusive ex-boyfriend was kind, flattering, and romantic. The first red-flag for her was that he told her a lie.
Our relationship seemed really perfect for the first month. David would send me poems and he’d call me each night and tell me how amazing I was. He dressed nicely and spoke well of others. He was close with his family and a strong member of the church, and he was smooth and ideal and just kind of the perfect social media looking boyfriend. I thought that I had really found someone I could date for a long, long time, even forever, until I found out that he had been lying to me about some things.
Abusive relationships are often detectable by the presence of lying. If your teen’s dating partner is telling lies, it is a strong indicator that your teen may be a target of sexual coercion and abuse.
Educate Teens: Sexual Phone Calls Are Sexual Coercion and Abuse
On the phone is how it began. He would mention to me like: Oh, I want to do this to you and he would insert some sort of sexual act.
Many teens may feel uncomfortable by sexually explicit phone calls with their boyfriend or girlfriend, but may not realize that this is a form of sexual abuse.
Parents can open up preemptive discussions with children who are not yet dating, or initiate discussions with teens who are dating, regarding the danger of sexual phone calls.
Teach Teens About Consent To Protect Them From Sexual Coercion And Abuse
Consent is an important topic for parents to discuss with children and teens.
Specifically, teens should understand that consent is an enthusiastic yes, when both parties have fully disclosed their sexual histories.
Sid had to say no, yell no, and eventually cry before her abusive ex-boyfriend would stop sexually assaulting her.
We were kissing and then I remember telling him no. He had started to take off some of my clothing and then he was trying to put his hands in places where I didn’t want and I told him no out loud, and he pretended like he didn’t hear me, and so I said it again and I pushed him off of me, and I started to cry because it had really scared me.
How Can I Protect My Kids from Sexual Coercion And Abuse?
Educating teens about sexual coercion and abuse is essential to prepare them to protect themselves.
Sid shares her own advice to teens:
First set your standard. Know what you expect from someone. Learn what the signs are of an abusive relationship. When you’re in a dating relationship and you start to feel hurt by them in ways that you don’t really understand, talk to your family or people you trust, maybe people that have experienced things like that and see how they feel about it. Learn about abuse and control and coercion.
Here are some steps you can take to begin empowering your children to engage in healthy relationships:
- Help teens set boundaries around what they will and will not do with a dating partner
- Help teens practice saying no out loud in the event of an assault
- Educate teens about sexual coercion, dating violence, and abuse
- Meet the people your teens date
- Find a trauma-informed professional for your teen, and consider pressing charges against the perpetrator
Betrayal Trauma Recovery Supports Victims of Sexual Coercion
At BTR, we know how difficult it can be to identify sexual coercion. It is also difficult to talk about your experiences when your partner has assaulted and coerced you.
The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group offers victims a safe place to share their experiences, process trauma, ask questions, and find friendships among other women who understand. Join today and find the community that you deserve as you begin your journey to healing.
Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.
I have a special guest on the podcast today. It is my friend’s daughter. So, my friend is named Dina, and she runs Educate and Empower Kids. Many of you may be familiar with Educate and Empower Kids. It is a non-profit that provides education for parents to teach their kids great online habits and healthy ways of interacting with each other.
Dina called me to tell me about an experience that her daughter had. So, I’m actually going to have her share the experience. She is 18 years old, and I’m happy to have her here. Her name is Sid.
Let’s just start Sid with what happened. Can you please share your story?
Protect Teens From Sexual Abuse By Inviting Them To Speak Openly About Their Lives & Experiences
Sid: Sure, so I began dating a guy June of last year. We’ll call him David. It was the end of my Junior year of High School and we only dated for about 5 months, but it was a really difficult experience for me because of how he treated me and the habits that I learned from that experience of dating him.
I’ve also just begun to notice some of the patterns that he has with every girlfriend that he’s had because I know his current girlfriend and I just see a lot of the same things going on with her. I wish he would listen to me, but I’ve been sharing my experiences with her and just kind of drawn attention to them and to me.
So, something I didn’t know before this relationship was that an abusive relationship is not just physical. Someone can hurt me emotionally by manipulating me and lying to me over and over again. I had never learned that before. I think the school had kind of touched on that but not a lot and not enough for me to see it in my relationship until it was over and other people were telling me how bad it was.
Teach Teens About The Cycle Of Abuse
Our relationship seemed really perfect for the first month. David would send me poems and he’d call me each night and tell me how amazing I was. He dressed nicely and spoke well of others. He was close with his family and a strong member of the church, and he was smooth and ideal and just kind of the perfect social media looking boyfriend. I thought that I had really found someone I could date for a long, long time, even forever until I found out that he had been lying to me about some things.
The first big lie, he didn’t really seem to care, and he kept making excuses until I would threaten to break up with him. It wasn’t really that I meant for it to be a threat, it was more like I told him that I was uncomfortable with that. He had told me that he hadn’t had sex before, but the truth was that he had, and I was worried that he would lie to me again. It wasn’t necessarily that he had done that before, it was just that he told me a completely different story. He fabricated this whole lie around it.
He practically begged for me to stay with him. He cried and made me feel really guilty like it was at fault. So, we stayed together, and we began to, I guess, repair the relationship but it wasn’t really repairing it.
Teen Dating Violence Is Happening Now
Anne: Sid, how did you find out that he had lied to you?
Sid: We had a lot of mutual friends. Actually, how I had met David was through another one of my friends that I was very close with. She knew a lot about him and she had another friend who had dated him in the past, so I had 2 different really good friends that knew him very well and they informed me when I was hanging out with them one time. I was talking about him and just how good things were and how he related to me a lot and how we had handled relationships in the past because we kind of talked about that, and they told me what I knew about him was actually not true.
They told me the real story and I confronted him about it just to double check in case they were lying, and at first he was saying that they were lying and then I went into more detail of what they had told me and he admitted to it and he told me that it was true and that he had been lying to me.
Protect Teens From Sexual Abuse By Helping Them Maintain Strong Friendships With Healthy Individuals
Anne: What do you think would have happened if he would have said: These 2 girls are liars, they’re not telling the truth. Knowing what you know about him now, obviously, you wouldn’t believe him, but back at that point do you think you would have believed him over your friends?
Sid: I think I would have been way confused and I think it would have made me question him and his character more just because I think I trusted my friends more just in the way that both of them knew things and they also had told me they would have his old girlfriend that he had had sex with talk to me about it because they were both really close with her. I didn’t know her at all, but I know that I would have been able to find out the truth from those girls and I would have trusted them more because they really didn’t have any benefit in me and David breaking up.
They didn’t have a reason to lie to me about it, whereas David had a big reason to lie to me about that because he knew my standards and that they didn’t align with the things that he had done in the past.
Teen Dating Violence Is Harmful To Our Kids
After he admitted to it and apologized, we had this really big conversation about him not lying to me and he acted like he was very humbled by it and he really wanted us to work on things and make it right. So, kind of went through that honeymoon phase as people will call it where everything was really perfect again. He was very sweet and respectful to me and there were always these little blips where he would be really sexual with me and I was really uncomfortable with that. I didn’t want to do those kinds of things with him.
Those were the kind of things that were going wrong, but I always overlooked them because of all the other really flower like behavior he had. He would buy me things and he would compliment me all the time. He acted like he really cared so it didn’t feel like he was objectifying me as much, even though he really was.
After a month of that kind of behavior I found out that he had lied once again and this time it was a lot more minor, but both lies were things having to do with other girls in the past. This one was about one of those friends that had originally told me about what he had done with his other old girlfriend and this girl had also previously dated him. So, I had another friend from Church, we’ll call her Mary. Mary is not part of the situation, but she knew David.
Protect Teens From Sexual Abuse By Helping Them Understand That Lying Is Simply Not Okay
She saw him being flirtatious with another girl. So, that other girl happened to have dated him before, and I was kind of friends with her but not very close. This girl Mary told me that it made a lot of other people in the class uncomfortable because they all knew that he was still dating me but was acting as if he wasn’t with this other girl.
So, I asked David about it. If he felt like he had been doing that and he, of course, said no, like it’s just friendly, it’s nothing like that. Mary sent me a picture of him with his arm around her and this video clip of him massaging her neck and things like that.
It wasn’t a huge deal, it was just more like he kept on being dishonest about it, and then further than that he tried to make me feel guilty about accusing him of things. He was like: Oh, you’re accusing me of cheating on you and you’re acting like I’m untrustworthy even though I’ve tried to earn that back this whole month.
Protect Teens From Sexual Abuse By Helping Them Cultivate Healthy Friendships
So, I just felt really bad and then he was like: Oh, you’re so judgmental, you’re always making me feel bad about stuff that I do. Which at first, I believed him, but I’ve talked to so many people and told them about it and I was really unsure because in the past no one had ever really said that about me, and so I started to realize that that wasn’t true, but at the time I really felt like he was telling me the truth.
He would say that he didn’t lie at all sometimes and then sometimes he would just be super careful with his words so that he could be vague and make it seem like I had been the one who was wrong.
It’s kind of confusing to explain but basically instead of answering a question like: Have you had sex before with a response of: No, I’m still a virgin, he would say: I don’t consider myself to have had sex with her or I didn’t go all the way with her and various other responses. So, he made me feel guilty for his own mistakes by blaming them on me being judgmental, and by making me dig into it and ask really specific questions over and over just to get a simple truth from him.
Teen Dating Violence Can Have Lasting Impacts
Anne: And maybe even then you didn’t get the truth, right? Even when you thought: Okay, finally I’ve hit the bottom of this it still may not have been.
Sid: Yeah, exactly. I could really get the information that other people could prove to me, and to this day I don’t really know all the things that he could have lied to me about or if maybe it was just really those things that I’d found out about. Just because he’s very good at hiding all of the things that he’s done.
Anne: Do you know about his porn use?
What Is Teen Dating Violence?
Sid: I had never asked him before until he had told me that he’d had sex before finally and he admitted to that. He said something to me like: Oh, well that’s just who I am, like I can’t help that, I’m very sex driven or something like that and I was like: Oh, and did that start? I just made the assumption that he had watched pornography before because I feel like in other relationships I’ve had there were circumstances like that.
When they would act really sexually towards me, then they would admit that: Oh, I’ve watched a lot of pornography and it’s kind of affected how I see people.
Whereas David would tell me: Oh, I’ve seen it before once or twice just because I know everyone watches it and I wanted to see what it’s about, but I don’t watch it at all anymore. I’m not interested in that kind of thing. So, I really am unsure if he has or has not watched a lot, but I would definitely assume just by the things he would say to me.
He would use kind of this dirty language with me and I would ask him to stop and he would tell me how it’s just so common, and I felt those things are only learned from pornography.
Protect Teens From sexual Abuse By Helping Them Identify Abusive “Red Flags” Early On, Like Pornography Use
Anne: So, you’re 18, so part of this podcast I’ll teach you a little bit but I’m sure your Mom has talked about this. The I used to watch porn, but I don’t anymore is extremely common for a current porn user. That’s a very common lie that they say. Which you probably looking back now is like: Yeah, he had to have kept using porn if he was acting like that, right. Especially as an “obedient church goer”. I would say that’s a pretty clear sign that he was currently using porn.
Sid: Yeah, when we were dating he went to church a lot and I’ve heard from other people now that we’ve broken up that he does not go to church anymore. He would kind of go on and off before we had dated, so I think a lot of the things that he told me when we were dating was to make me feel like he was a good church member, when in reality I don’t think he really has a super strong testimony. It was just kind of, once again, all that show and that way of manipulating me into thinking that he was someone that he’s not.
Protect Teens From Sexual Violence By Helping Them Identify Grooming
Anne: So, tell me what happens next.
Sid: As he and I were dating I made it very clear that my standards were that I didn’t want to have sex before marriage. I really didn’t even want to do anything that would resemble any sort of sexual act, so that would include any touching under clothing, rubbing up on each other. I was only fine with kissing or like snuggling. On the phone is how it began.
He would mention to me like: Oh, I want to do this to you and he would insert some sort of sexual act. I would tell him: Okay, you can make jokes about that I guess on the phone since it seems like you’re already doing that, but I would appreciate if you make it clear to me that you don’t really want to do that. I don’t want to do that.
Protect Teens From Sexual Coercion
He would say something like: Oh, well, you’ll come along or like: Oh, you’ll want to later on. So, it kind of put the idea in my head: Oh, well maybe I’m supposed to do those things, and I knew it was wrong from a church standpoint and from my standards, but it was hard because he would talk to me like that so much and I would definitely feel like I had to or like he didn’t feel like I loved him enough if I didn’t do that.
There were a few different times where in my car before I dropped him off at home and we would be kissing and then he would kind of try to move his hand somewhere and I would move it away at first, but he would try again. It just felt like he kept trying every single time that he had a moment that he could.
So, eventually, I would just slowly let it happen. Just these little things would slip, and I think the worst time that it happened when there was real sexual coercion going on would be a few months in. We were kissing and then I remember telling him no. He had started to take off some of my clothing and then he was trying to put his hands in places where I didn’t want and I told him no out loud, and he pretended like he didn’t hear me, and so I said it again and I pushed him off of me, and I started to cry because it had really scared me.
“He Didn’t Care About Me”
He stopped and automatically he said he was sorry and that he just didn’t hear me, but there was this feeling in my gut that I just kind of knew that he had heard me. I knew that I had said it loud enough and that he was close enough that he had to have heard me. It was quiet, it was only us. I think that was my first sign that he didn’t care about me enough to put those sexual desires behind him and to just care about me.
After that day when things went really far, a lot further then I had ever expected, we didn’t have sex but there was definitely sexual things going on that day, I felt a lot of guilt and so I told David that I didn’t want to do anything like that ever again and that I would prefer if we only had short kissing in a public place as I said goodbye to him and that I didn’t comfortable.
Be Emotionally Available For Your Teen After They Experience Abuse
This was a phone call and he kept saying: Oh, you know, that’s okay. I completely accept that, but from that moment on he really started to distance himself and I noticed every day that he would just text me less.
I didn’t see him super often because he went to a different school then I did and so a lot of our relationship during the school year was texting and phone calls besides seeing each other on the weekends for dates. So, immediately that week I noticed that he texted me a lot less. I would know that he had a lot of free time and would deliberately not text me or call me at night. He would say: Oh, I can’t do that, I have this. I assumed that he was under a lot of stress. I made a lot of excuses for him because I was too wrapped up in the relationship.
Protect Teens From Psychological Abuse, Like Gaslighting
I remember asking him about it and he had turned it around on me and was like: Oh, well I feel like your bored of me or you’re like you don’t even love me enough. Like you don’t want to do any of this stuff, you don’t feel safe around me. It makes me too sad. So, I saw a lot of his time starting to go away from me. He wasn’t interested in me as much.
Then one night we were on a date. We were hanging out with some of his friends and one of his friends made a joke like: Oh, did you tell your girlfriend that you skipped school yesterday? I didn’t really care that he’d skipped school, but the night before we had been on the phone and he had gone through this whole day at school, talking to me about school and stuff as if he’d been there.
So, I asked him: Oh, on the phone you talked about school as if you were there, did you not go to school yesterday? He was like: Well, maybe we should go talk outside. So, I went outside, collected myself, and then he came out and we started talking.
Protect Teens From Sexual Abuse By Listening And Validating Their Feelings
I just started crying. I was like: David, why do you continue to lie to me about things? Like, that’s not even a big thing. Why did you feel like you had to lie to me? That just makes me feel like maybe you were doing something you shouldn’t be doing that day. Maybe there is a reason why you’re not telling me.
He was again: Hey, you’re just so judgmental. I just felt like you were going to get so mad at me about this. I shut down. I was like: I feel like we have a lot of problems and you’re not really helping to work on repairing them with me. I know you’ve been lying to me a lot about other things that I can’t find out about through other people. I can’t tell when you’re being honest with me, you lie straight to my face about things, and it makes me really uncomfortable. Either I need you to tell me that we’re going to work on this and we need to actually make a plan, or our relationship needs to end.
Teens Can Experience The Pain Of Infidelity
So, he said: Oh, we’re going to make a plan. I was like: Okay, I love you, alright, bye. Then he was like: I love you more, and I was like: I don’t really think you do because you wouldn’t treat me like that if you did. He was like: Yeah, you’re right, you do love me more, I think we should break up. I lost motivation for you. Then he just started dropping all this stuff on me. Like: I lost motivation to be with you a few months ago. So, we broke up and we didn’t talk for a month.
The biggest point for me when I realized just how bad our relationship really was, was then his ex-girlfriend contacted me and she told me that they were dating again and that they had gotten back together in August and mine and David’s relationship hadn’t ended until October. I realized then that he had been dating another girl at the same time as dating me, so cheating on me, for a few months.
Protect Teens From Sexual Abuse By Gently Reminding Them Not To Blame Themselves
So, me and his ex-girlfriend and current girlfriend met up and we were talking about it. One of my other friends that had been involved, she had been one of the friends that had told me when he had lied to me the first time about having sex, they were all kind of mixed up in that mess too, and so the 3 of us girls were talking about it and she’s still dating him so she was talking about just how he treats her now and it’s very similar and actually worse than how he treated me.
Anne: Did she perceive it as abuse?
Sid: She did not. She perceived it as: Oh, it’s on me. I’m just too (whatever traits he had told her that she was) that made him act that way.
Anne: Oh, so she was blaming herself?
Protect Teens From Sexual Abuse By Empowering Them To Say “No”
Sid: Yes. So, she went into detail of all the things that they’ve been doing and how she thought they had been dating for the last few months that I was still dating him, and I told her that’s really a red flag. That he cheated on me with you and now you guys are dating. Like, do you not see that he’s going to do that to you as well? She was like: Oh, maybe he will, I don’t know. Oh, you’ve given me so much to think about. It just really stuck me then: That’s how I would have been if I’d have found something like that when I was dating him.
Just because he seemed like he was this perfect boyfriend. He would do all these other boyfriend things, but when it came down to it he really didn’t care about me and I only see that now that I’m out of it. Whereas his current girlfriend can’t see that.
Anne: Yeah, this sounds very typical for a pornography user and also an abusive man. So, after you broke up with him, what are your thoughts at that point? Have you told your mom? It sounds like you have excellent friends that are looking out for you, which is great, and I know you’re really close with your mom so I’m sure you’re talking to her the whole time this is going on. I want to tell listeners that Dina, who runs Educate and Empower Kids, this is an example that she practices what she preaches, right.
Teens Can Experience Gaslighting, Lying, And Manipulation Too
That her daughters feel safe enough with her to tell her all these things that happen so that she could get help. So, this is very typical of what wives or pornography users are going through. All the gaslighting, and the lying, and the manipulation, but this is happening in High School for you. So, I want to talk about what you learned from the experience and if you felt injured at all.
Sid: After the experience and talking to other people I realized that it’s not okay in a relationship for someone to be dishonest first of all, and then second of all to place blame on you for their own problems. I also learned a lot about what I really deserve and so that comes through myself though. I wrote in my journal a lot after the experience and during the experience, I had written some things too, just when I was questioning things. I felt really self-conscience about talking about some of the things in our relationship with my friends or even my mom.
“My Mom Helped Me Learn About What An Abusive Relationships Really Is”
At the time, and after David and I broke up, I felt a lot more comfortable telling my mom everything. I went through it all and she helped me learn about what an abusive relationship really is and how what I experienced could affect me. So, I wrote in my journal a lot. I would write mostly what I wanted in a future relationship to make it better and I really set a better standard for what I’m going to expect from someone, so that way I won’t accept that kind of behavior again.
The thing is, you can’t really completely protect yourself from those experiences. I can’t say if I go to college that I might not end up in a relationship like that again, but at least that way I’ll be able to recognize it and end it a lot earlier on. I think a lot of the damage that I’ve taken with me is more so, it really affected how I viewed myself. I felt extremely hurt when I found out that he had completely lost interest and started dating someone else while he was dating me. I felt completely inadequate as a human being, like as if I wasn’t enough for him.
Protect Teens From Sexual Abuse By Offering Unconditional Love
Finding that self-worth came a lot from Heavenly Father, just from going to church, going to the Temple, doing service, performing well in school, hanging out with my family, just being with people that I knew cared about me and becoming successful in a way that I valued. Somedays it still hurts a lot. Somedays I’ll see something on Instagram about him or about his girlfriend and it kind of brings some of it back and I feel sad about it. It still hurts sometimes, but I know that it will continue to fade away slowly from me and that I’m continuing to heal every day from it.
Anne: So, this type of behavior is becoming more and more common as more men utilize pornography as a way to relieve stress. Their objectifying women more. Feeling more entitled to their own abusive opinions and other women’s bodies and utilizing or using them for their own purposes rather than actually caring about them. Talk to me about your friend’s experiences. Have they experienced the same thing with other kids in your school? Let’s talk about what this looks like on the High School level.
Sid: Yeah, I’ve had 3 friends that had major problems and of course I have friends with more minor abusive relationships. One of my friends, we’ll call her Jessie, she was in a relationship with this boy who was in the ROTC program and so was she. I knew them through some of my other ex-boyfriends that were in ROTC.
Protect Teens From Sexual Abuse By Reporting Abuse Immediately
So, this girl Jessie, she’d been seeing this guy for a long time, maybe 6 months, when after Prom one night apparently, he had wanted to have sex and she didn’t want to so she had left in a rush and the next day at school she had been trying to go to the ROTC room for a meeting and this young man came up and he pushed her against the wall and he was yelling at her and he punched the wall next to her and the ROTC instructor saw them and did not report anything to the school. I think only a few other students maybe saw it and no one really did anything about it.
He didn’t lose his position in ROTC. I did not see any consequences and this girl Jessie felt too scared to go to court. She didn’t want to have to go through all of that process just because she knew that it wouldn’t really fix the problem that much, so much as making it worse. Cause more drama. Maybe he would react in a worse way to that. I saw that fear in her and I realized just how sometimes you can feel really helpless in those situations and how it really can be helpless, especially at school when there are people that won’t help you as they should.
Protect Teens From Sexual Abuse By Holding Perpetrators Accountable
Anne: Yeah, what you’re describing there is that a teacher witnessed an abuse episode, in an abuse situation, and did not call it out for what it was or hold the perpetrator accountable or try in any way to keep the victim safe. That’s scary. Super, super scary, and the most likely reason why is because they don’t understand abuse.
Not necessarily because they’re an evil person that likes abuse, but because they don’t really know what it looks like, buts that’s exactly what it looks like and it’s happening on school grounds and it’s happening everywhere.
Tell me about your other friend.
Sid: Another one of my friends, she had a boyfriend a long time ago, she’s in college now but when she lived here we were pretty good friends, she told me about how a year or 2 ago in her Sophomore or Junior year of High School she had been dating this guy for about a year when it was his birthday and they had messed around and done a few sexual things but not as severe and he wanted to have sex.
She thought he might want to do that, but she knew she didn’t want to, and she told him beforehand that she didn’t want to have sex, but while they were kissing it went further and further and she tried to stop him, and he forced her to have sex with him.
Protect Teens From Clergy-Induced Trauma
At first, when things were kind of going on she had been like: No, no and he didn’t listen, and she realized that he wasn’t going to listen and that he might hurt her if she didn’t go along with it. So, she didn’t really go along with it, but she decided she just was present. So, after that occasion, she had gone into the church and told her Bishop about that and she felt a lot of guilt.
She took it as: Oh, we had sex and I didn’t really want to but I felt like I had to, and so she went in and told her Bishop about the situation and he basically told her that it was still her fault because they had done stuff beforehand and he was her boyfriend and that it wasn’t considered rape.
Anne: Wow. Sorry, let’s just pause there everyone. Wow! Okay.
Sid: It was crazy, and she had felt a lot of guilt. She was pretty young for something like that to happen and so she cried and she cried. She continued to meet with that Bishop and repent for it as if it was all her fault for that situation.
“That Hurt Her So Badly”
She and that boy ended up breaking up a while later and then they got back together. They were on and off. Her family ended up moving away so she was completely out of that situation by the time she was telling me her story, and so she could look back and I just remember her telling me that I just needed to always remember that if someone ever tries to force me to do something that it’s not on me. She had learned from other people that that was wrong, but how at the time he had misled her. That hurt her so badly.
Anne: Does she know now that he raped her? Does she call it that?
Sid: Yes, she does.
Anne: Okay, and when she says that does she seem confident about it? Is it hard for her to say?
Protect Teens From Sexual Abuse By Clearly Identifying Abuse
Sid: She wasn’t like using the word rape, but she does talk about it as an assault. I can tell that it makes her uncomfortable and she obviously has only told a few people that were super close to her. I know that it hurts her a lot still. It’s been hard for her. She’s dating someone now, but it’s taken her a long time because that was a few years ago and she’s just recently started dating someone again because the idea of being with another guy scared her. Even just a hug from a boy would make her tense up a lot and her heart rate would go up. She just felt a lot of fear from that.
Anne: Yeah, for good reason. Wow. Oh, my word. That example you gave of clergy not calling it rape is so common and so detrimental to victims and also does not hold perpetrators accountable for their sexual assault. The more we can educate women about this, I’m not sure if there would be anything that they could do, but at least in their hearts so they could know what happened and help educate other women about it, and that’s what this podcast is about today.
Advice For Teens From A Teen
Sid, for other teenagers out there who may or may not have experienced an abusive relationship or a sexual assault or are dating a pornography user, either confirmed or a secret pornography user, what advice would you give them after your experience and after what you’ve seen with your friends?
Sid: I would say first set your standard. Know what you expect from someone. Learn what the signs are of an abusive relationship. When you’re in a dating relationship and you start to feel hurt by them in ways that you don’t really understand, talk to your family or people you trust, maybe people that have experienced things like that and see how they feel about it.
Also, I don’t remember where I got this advice, but I think someone at church once told me that if a friend was telling you a story if you thought they were being hurt then you’d tell them: Oh, you need to break up with them. You need to not be with them. So, you need to consider yourself your own friend. If you were telling your story to someone else would they tell you not to be with them anymore? If your story was coming from a friend, would you tell them to stay with that person?
Protect Teens From Sexual Abuse By Helping Them Identify Red Flags
I know for me if someone was telling me the story of Me and David as if it was them in that situation I would 100% tell them that they should not be with that person. That what’s going on is not their fault and that they’re being manipulated. With that knowledge know I can clearly see that I should not have been in that relationship. Just becoming more educated on the red flags so you can see it from the beginning and keeping in contact with other people about what’s going. Update them. Make sure that you’re being safe.
Anne: Uh huh. I’m so proud of you. So many times, women or young women are so embarrassed about some of the choices that they’ve made that they’re afraid to tell someone and that’s part of what keeps women in abusive relationships. Their thinking: Well, it is partially my fault because I let him do this and I don’t really want anyone to know. When they don’t realize that part of that situation was sexual coercion, that their partner coerced or even raped them and they didn’t know it.
Teen Dating Violence Is Real
I’ve had several friends whose boyfriends raped them, and they didn’t call it that because they didn’t know that’s what it was. It’s so important to educate people and also to have compassion for women who are victims in this. For example, sometimes the other girlfriend, in some cases, she doesn’t know anything about the current girlfriend. She doesn’t know that he’s cheating on her. So, some women when they find out about the mistress or the other women, they get mad at her. Like: How could she do that? But they don’t realize she is another victim too in many cases and has been manipulated and lied to and told some story that makes some kind of sense.
So, having compassion for all victims is really important. I’m so proud of you that you took this experience to learn and to grow. I would recommend reading Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft to you and all your friends as your thinking about this topic and getting more educated about it before you go off to college.
Protect Teens From Sexual Abuse By Becoming Educated About What Healthy Relationships Look Like
Really getting educated about women’s issues. About sexual assault. About what an abusive relationship looks like. At Betrayal Trauma Recovery, we assert that every woman in a relationship with an active pornography user, is in an abusive relationship and the abuse runs the gamut. It could be simply neglect. It could be lies. It could be all different kinds of things. I’m not saying that the abuse is always going to look a certain way, but we know that pornography is abusive on every level that there is and as women search for healthy relationships it’s really important to keep in mind.
Thank you so much for coming on today Sid. I really appreciate your bravery in sharing your story.
Anne: As you can tell, this episode is a really good one to share with the young women in your life. To teach them about sexual assaults. To teach them about manipulation and lying. To teach them about abusive relationships.
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