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Research Shows Bullying May Have Lifelong Effect, Lead To Abusive Relationships

Gamberg Says Education, Talking To Teens Important To Stopping Abuse
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NEW YORK (WLNY) – A new study suggests that both girls and boys report similar levels of abuse — and that those who suffer through it may be more likely to become abusers themselves.

More: Teen Dating Violence Linked To Substance Abuse, Depression

“Abuse is an umbrella for emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and each one in its own right is becoming more prominent, and the lack of education is one of the reasons,” Gamberg said. “It used to mean just hitting, now, and most teens don’t even recognize that they are being abused until it’s too late or too dangerous,”

The study found that 41 percent of girls and young women, along with 37 percent of boys and young men are victims of dating abuse.

The research also shows that middle school bullies — and those who are victims of bullying — may be more likely to become abusive in teen and adult relationships.

“It follows a behavioral pattern, it’s a coping mechanism,” Dr. Gamberg said. “[Bullies] gain the power, they gain the respect – they think – by bullying. As they get older, they’ve marked their territory, and this is how they control relationships.”

Teens, like adults, sometimes have trouble recognizing that they are in an abusive relationship, experts say.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these warning signs in relationships, it could be a red flag for abusive behavior:

  •  Checks your cellphone or e-mail without permission
  •  Constantly puts you down
  •  Is extremely jealous or insecure
  •  Has an explosive temper
  •  Isolates you from family or friends
  •  Makes false accusations
  •  Physically hurts you in any way
  •  Tells you what to do

To access a 24 hour national dating abuse site, visit www.loveisrespect.org.

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