As she described the relationship with her boyfriend, she continued to justify and minimize the intensity of their relationship. Mya, a 16 year old Junior at Craven High School, had been dating Jonathan, a 17 year old Senior, for only six months. Mya had been recommended to speak with the school's guidance counselor after her swimming coach observed several fairly large bruises to Mya's arms, legs, and shoulders.
When questioned about the bruising Mya excused the bruises to making a clumsy fall. However, that story changed in later weeks. Mya shared that Jonathan became angry one night when she'd asked him to take her home, and because of her continued questioning he became violent. According to Mya, he apologized to her excessively promising never to do it again. She assured that she trusted him.
Mya began missing several days of school. She shared with her guidance counselor that she'd had been asked by Jonathan to skip school to hang out with him. Mya also shared that Jonathan would send her text messages frequently during the school day inquiring of her whereabouts, and only wanted her to walk home from school with him. When asked about other relationships with friends, Mya responded that Jonathan did not care much for her friends because they were too immature. Mya advised that she liked the attention and Jonathan only did it because he loved her.
Mya had fallen prey to Confusing Intensity for Love. The common thread found among teen dating violence. Mya and Jonathan are fictional characters, but this story is true to several teens and tweens.
What is Teen Dating Violence?
Between Friends, a Domestic Violence agency in Chicago, describes teen dating violence as the repeated pattern of mental, physical, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse where one dating partner makes the other partner feel scared, weak, isolated, hurt, or sad.
A Few Statistics
The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, loveisrespect.org provides the following statistics:
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 MSG
Crystal S. Zanders is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who works in private practice in Suburban Chicago. Crystal obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Master of Arts in Counseling from Concordia University-Chicago in River Forest, IL. Crystal has over 8 years of experience providing counseling, advising, and coaching to individuals seeking to restore their lives. Crystal is actively involve in ministry. Crystal serves on the leadership team alongside her husband at Prayer City Church in Wheaton, IL. Additionally, Crystal is the co-founder of The Oasis Ministry, a women's ministry designed to encourage women in their growth in faith, purpose, and wholeness! Crystal’s favorite pastimes include: reading, writing, crocheting/knitting skills, and going to the movies. Her heart’s desire is to see individuals gain insight into their God-given identity and live a life of wholeness and purpose! Crystal loves to bring clarity and understanding through the truth of God’s Word and enjoys utilizing writing as a teaching modality.