BYU-Idaho students discuss the dark side of dating, saying that being aware of potential dangers allows them to do some sifting and find the great people who are out there.
According to the Women Helping Women website, one third of high school students have been or will be in an abusive relationship, and just 33 percent of teens who were abused ever told anyone about these dangerous relationships.
According to the site, “You always deserve to be treated equally, and have a right to feel safe in your relationships.”
Amy Reed (name has been changed) said when she was 13 or 14 she started dating a guy she thought was great.
“He lived down the street, so we were always close,” she said.
She said after two or three months of dating, she discovered some surprising things about her boyfriend.
“There were a lot of drugs at our school, I guess you could say,” she said. “We had lots of drugs passed around school, lots of drug busts. People would overdose at school. Ambulances had to come.”
Reed said one day when she was absent from school, there was a drug case in which two kids died and others were hospitalized.
“The police were always on campus the next cole days until they found who it was,” she said. “They interviewed everyone, and I was like, ‘I don’t know anyone. I don’t associate with those kinds of people.’”
She said the police found out who the drug splier for the incident was and it was her boyfriend. She said her parents found out the boy was linked to gangs, so her family subsequently moved to another town.
Reed said this experience made her more scared of dating in general.
“I think it’s protected me from potentially dangerous situations,” she said. “I always like to know what’s going on.”
She said it is important for people to be open with family members about dating relationships.
Reed said she wishes she had known she could be more open with her parents about her dating life when she was younger.
“Had I had that open relationship with my parents or my church leaders, I feel like I could have been able to stay out of sketchy relationships,” she said.
Reed said she makes sure to let people know where she will be when she goes on a date. She said she finds out as much as she can beforehand about the date and what they will be doing together.
“Knowing as much as you can about what is going to be happening that evening is covering all your bases,” she said.
She said roommates should know what is happening so they can help.
“As an adult, it’s more your personal decision, but it’s good to get other opinions on it,” she said. “They’re the removed third party and they can see things that you can’t. You’ve just got to take that with a teaspoon of salt.”
She said a good indication of abuse is major changes in the way the victim behaves.
“If you have known them before and during a relationship, if you see a huge change in who they are and how they act, those are some red lights there,” she said. “If they are emotionally or physically abusing you, you’re going to change.”
Reed said students should watch out for such changes in those close to them.
“Don’t be afraid to say something,” she said. “Be like, ‘Dude, he’s not treating you right,’ or ‘Dude, she’s not treating you right.’”
She said if a person realizes he or she is in an abusive situation, the best thing to do is end that relationship.
“You have to completely cut it off in every possible way,” she said.
Jonathan Martinez, a junior studying business, said some advice from President Hinckley helps him in safe dating.
“He said once that we are not that strong,” he said. “Don’t just pretend that you are so strong and nothing is going to happen.”
Martinez said one of the best ways to avoid dangerous dating situations is to follow the Honor Code.
“The Honor Code is there for a reason,” he said. “The reason is that if we do it, we are going to be more likely to be good and not to do anything wrong.”
He said we will be protected by choosing to heed the Holy Ghost.
“Most of us are LDS, so we have the Holy Spirit,” he said. “At the moment we know we are going to do something wrong, always, always, the Holy Spirit is gonna’ tell you, ‘This is not right. Run away.’”
Martinez said we enter a dangerous state when we stop doing little things like reading the scriptures and going to church.
“If you stop doing small things, that’s when it’s easier to do something big,” he said.
Martinez said he does not feel safe about dating anymore.
“Don’t go with the stereotype that because a girl is LDS she is going to be a good girl,” he said. “You have to be careful even as a guy, because that happens a lot. I have had many different times that I had to run away.”
He said everything we do has consequences.
“Be a good girl, be a good guy, and don’t do anything stid,” he said.
Reed said although dating can be scary, she finds hope in her patriarchal blessing and other promised blessings.
“If we play our part in it, be smart and not just marry some random bimbo off the street, Heavenly Father will bless us,” she said. “If you and your partner are both trying, you’ll make it, and He’ll make sure you’ll make it.”