Relationships are when you connect with other people and form bonds.
There are many types of relationships:
- Romantic (I’m in love!)
- Sexual (We’ve decided to have sex.)
- Platonic (Just friends!)
- Professional (We work together.)
- Medical (Your doctor/nurse helps you when you are sick.)
- Familial (These are the people that are related to you.)
It is good to have different types of relationships.
Romantic relationships can be fun and an important part of your life, but sometimes romantic relationships can become unsafe and dangerous.
Romantic relationships can be unsafe when:
- One person in the relationship is hurting the other person or forcing them to do things they do not want to do.
- You and your partner do not practice safe sex – this can lead to sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy.
Sometimes, one person isn’t nice to the other person in a romantic or sexual relationship.
Everyone has disagreements once in a while.
Domestic violence is when an argument between two people in a relationship involves:
- Excessive and frequent psychological abuse (like hurtful and mean-spirited words)
- Other violence
There is no excuse for domestic violence!
- Even if someone is angry with you, this does not give that person the right to hurt you.
If you think you are experiencing domestic violence, tell someone you trust!
You can call this number: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
There is always someone you can turn to for help. You don’t have to face this alone.
It may be scary to admit that someone you love is physically hurting you.
As a person with a developmental disability, it may be even harder for you to tell someone that you are being hurt by a person you love.
This may be because:
- You don’t want to lose the person.
- You don’t think anyone will believe you.
- You’re not sure if what is happening is wrong.
Remember – it is never okay for someone to hurt you!
It is your right to have a safe relationship with another person.
When you find a person who makes you have “that feeling of love inside,” you may forget that you have a right to be safe.
Even if you love someone, it doesn’t give them the right to physically or emotionally hurt you.
If you are experiencing domestic violence:
- Tell someone you trust like a support provider, your family, or your doctor.
- You could even tell the police because domestic violence is a crime.
Relationships can also be unsafe if one person is forcing the other person to do things they do not want to do – like have sex before being ready.
Sex should only happen between two consenting adults.
- Consenting means that both of you are agreeing to have sex without any pressure.
- It means you are choosing to have sex.
If someone forces you to have sex when you don’t want to, it’s called rape.
- If you have been raped, tell someone you trust so that they can help you.
- You can also call the police.
Rape is a very serious crime.
- It is possible for someone close to you, or even someone you love, to be the person who rapes you.
- If you don’t want to have sex and someone, even if it is your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, friend, or relative, forces you to have sex: it is still rape.
- If you know who your attacker is, it is sometimes called “date rape.”
- Rape is a crime, whether you know who raped you or not.
If you have been raped, get someone to help you.
- Call the Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- In an emergency, call 911 and tell the police. Don't keep it a secret!
Check out these links to find more information on maintaining safe relationships.
- Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia: Domestic Violence
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- National Domestic Violence Hotline