June 26, 2009— -- Expert on domestic and teen dating violence Jill Murray, offers advice for parents on how to spot warning signs of emotional and physical abuse and ways for teens to avoid abusive behavior in relationships.
1. Stay away from boys who put you down, talk negatively about women, or drink and/or use drugs.
2. Don't get involved with a boy who doesn't ask for your opinion or doesn't respect your or your decisions.
3. Set sexual limits and communicate them clearly. Most teenage boys say, "I'll go as far as the girl will let me."
4. Stay sober in social situations.
5. Don't make boys guess what you want—tell them.
6. When on a date, remain in control. Have an alternate transportation plan in case the date isn't going as you would like and you want to go home. Do not rely on your date to bring you home.
7. Listen to and trust your feelings and instincts.
8. As soon as you feel threatened, forget about being a "nice girl."
9. Take care of yourself. Don't assume someone else will.
10. If a boy tries to use physical force and you must defend yourself, do not hit him in the stomach, shoulders, or back. These are the strongest parts of his body. Target the kneecaps, heels, eyes, or crotch. If possible, do not stay and fight. Flee! You have 15 minutes of an adrenaline surge, which will give you energy and extraordinary strength. Use it to run, get help, and yell, "Call 911" or "Fire!"