Archive for the ‘Functional Edge’ Category

Let Your Heart Rule

February 14, 2011 1 comment

Does Your Relationship Rule?

The Healthy Relationship Quiz

Everyone deserves to be in a safe and healthy relationship. Do you know if your relationship is as healthy as you deserve? Answer “yes” or “no” to the following statements to find out! Make sure to circle your responses. At the end you’ll find out how to score your answers. Does Your Relationship Rule?The Healthy Relationship Quiz

The person I am with:      Circle One

1. Is very supportive of things that I do. Y N

2. Encourages me to try new things. Y N

3. Likes to listen when I have something on my mind. Y N

4. Understands that I have my own life too. Y N

5. Is not liked very well by my friends. Y N

6. Says I’m too involved in different activities. Y N

7. Texts me or calls me all the time. Y N

8. Thinks I spend too much time trying to look nice. Y N

9. Gets extremely jealous or possessive. Y N

10. Accuses me of flirting or cheating. Y N

11. Constantly checks up on me or makes me check in.  Y N

12. Controls what I wear or how I look. Y N

13. Tries to control what I do and who I see. Y N

14. Tries to keep me from seeing or talking to my family and friends. Y N

15. Has big mood swings – gets angry and yells at me one minute, and the next minute is sweet and apologetic.Y N

16. Makes me feel nervous or like I’m “walking on eggshells.” Y N

17. Puts me down, calls me names or criticizes me.  Y N

18. Makes me feel like I can’t do anything right or blames me for problems.Y N

19. Makes me feel like no one else would want me. Y N

20. Threatens to hurt me, my friends or family.  Y N

21. Threatens to hurt him or herself because of me. Y N

22. Threatens to destroy my things.  Y N

23. Grabs, pushes, shoves, chokes, punches, slaps, holds me down, throws things or hurts me in some way.Y N

24. Breaks things or throws things to intimidate me. Y N

25. Yells, screams or humiliates me in front of other people. Y N

26. Pressures or forces me into having sex or going farther than I want to.Y N


Give yourself 1 point for every “no” you answered to numbers 1-4; 1 point for every “yes” response to numbers 5-8; and 5 points for every “yes” to numbers 9-26.

Now that you’re finished and have your score, the next step is to find out what your score means.  Simply take your total score and see which of the boxes below applies to you.

Score: 0 points

You got a score of 0? Don’t worry—it’s a good thing! It sounds like your relationship is on a pretty healthy track. Maintaining healthy relationships takes some work—keep it up! Remember that while you may have a healthy relationship, it’s possible that a friend of yours may not. If you think you know someone who may be in an abusive relationship, find out how you can help that person end the abuse.

Score: 1-2 points

If you scored 1 or 2 points, you might be noticing a couple of things in your relationship that could be unhealthy, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are warning signs. It’s still a good idea to keep an eye on them to make sure there isn’t a pattern. The best thing to do is to talk to your partner and let them know what you like and don’t like. Encourage them to do the same. Remember, communication is always important when building a healthy relationship. It’s also good to be informed so that you learn to recognize the warning signs. Break the Cycle can give you information about teen dating violence and the different types of abuse there may be.

Score: 3-4 points

If you scored 3 or 4 points, it sounds like you may be seeing some warning signs of an abusive relationship. Warning signs should never be ignored. Something that starts small can grow much worse over time. No relationship is perfect – it takes some work! But in a healthy relationship you won’t find abusive behaviors. If you think your relationship may not be as healthy as you deserve, contact us for help and to get more information.

Score: 5 points or more

If you scored 5 points or more, you are definitely seeing warning signs and may be in an abusive relationship. You don’t have to deal with this alone. Break the Cycle can help. We can talk to you about your different options and legal rights.

To learn how you can create safe and healthy relationships,visit








Dating Violence 101

February 9, 2011 1 comment

What is Dating Violence?

Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner.

A Pattern of Behavior

Calling dating violence a pattern doesn’t mean the first instance of abuse is not dating violence. It just recognizes that dating violence usually involves a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time. Here is a model of how it works:

Tension Building

Things start to get tense between a teen and their dating partner.


The abuser apologizes, trying to make up with his or her partners and to shift the blame for the explosion to someone or something else.

Cycle of Violence


There is an outburst of violence that can include intense emotional, verbal, sexual and/or physical abuse.

Every relationships is different, but the one thing that is common to most abusive dating relationships is that the violence escalates over time and becomes more and more dangerous for the young victim.

Power and Control

The definition also points out that at the core of dating violence are issues of power and control. The diagram details how violent words and actions are tools an abusive partner uses to gain and maintain power and control over his or her partner.

Power and Control Wheel

What is a Partner?

“Partner” might mean different things to different people, particularly across generations. The relationship may be sexual, but it does not have to be. It may be serious or casual, monogamous or not, short-term or long-term. The important thing to remember is that dating violence occurs within an intimate relationship.

What Does Dating Violence Look Like?

Teens and young adults experience the same types of abuse in relationships as adults. This can include:

  • Physical abuse: any intentional use of physical force with the intent to cause fear or injury, like hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, kicking or using a weapon
  • Emotional abuse: non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking
  • Sexual abuse: any action that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including rape, coercion or restricting access to birth control

While teens experience the same types of abuse as adults, often the methods are unique to teen culture. For example, teens often report “digital abuse” — receiving threats by text messages or being stalked on facebook or MySpace.

If you or a loved one is in a violent relationship, please get help.

Ten Warning Signs of Abuse

While there are many warning signs of abuse, here are ten of the most common:

  1. Checking your cell phone or email without permission
  2. Constant put-downs
  3. Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  4. Explosive temper
  5. Financial control
  6. Isolating you from family or friends
  7. Mood swings
  8. Physically hurting you in any way
  9. Possessiveness
  10. Telling you what to do


Pop Quiz, Oh No; Oh Yes…Teen Dating Violence Facts

February 7, 2011 1 comment


Do you know how teen dating violence affects teens across the country?

Take this quiz to find out!

Give yourself one point for every question you get right.

1. At what age do females experience the highest amounts of relationship violence?
a. 16-24
b. 25-30
c. 31-35
2. What percentage of tweens (ages 11-14) in relationships know friends who have been verbally abused (called stupid, worthless, ugly, etc.) by a partner?
a. 5%
b. 25%
c. 47%
3. What is the number of teens that have had partners try to prevent them from spending time with friends or family?
a. 1 in 35
b. 1 in 4
c. 1 in 50
4. What percentage of high school students have been physically forced to have sexual intercourse?
a. 2%
b. 15%
c. 8%

5. What percentage of teens in relationships have been sent text messages 10, 20 or 30 times an hour by a partner wanting to know where they are, what they are doing and who they are with?
a. 30%
b. 10%
c. 25%
6. What percentage of teens in relationships have been called names, harassed or put down by their partner through cell phones and texting?
a. 25%
b. 17%
c. 3%
7. Which of these groups is able to deal with teen dating violence better?
a. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer (LGBTQ)
b. Teenage boys
c. Heterosexual (straight) people
d. Teenage girls over 17
e. No one group is better able to overcome teen dating violence.

Answer Key:

1. a. (16-24); 2. c. (47%); 3. b. (1 in 4); 4. c. (8%); 5. a. (30%); 6. a. (25%); 7. e. (no one group is better able to overcome teen dating violence.)

So, did you get all the questions right? Were some of your selections wrong? Well, guess what? It’s not the score that really matters; what’s important is to get the word out. Many people, especially teens, don’t know about teen dating violence. So regardless of whether you got all the questions right or wrong, share this knowledge with your peers.

Check out to get more information and to find out how you can get involved.

C.M. Rennison and S. Welchans, “BJS Special Report: Intimate Partner Violence,” (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics,
Tween/Teen Dating Relationships Survey (2008) TRU, Liz Claiborne Inc.
Teen Dating Abuse Survey 2006 (2006) TRU, Liz Claiborne Inc.
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (2005). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tech Abuse in Teen Relationships Study (2007). TRU, Liz Claiborne Inc.]
Tech Abuse in Teen Relationships Study (2007). TRU, Liz Claiborne Inc.]

You have the right to a safe and healthy relationship…free from violence and free from fear.
© 2008 Break the Cycle, Updated 3.08


The Warnings Signs of Digital Dating Abuse

February 5, 2011 Comments off


A Mother Turning Her Loss Into Prevention of Dating Violence…

February 4, 2011 2 comments

Siobhan Russell and her mother Lynne Russell shortly before Siobhan was killed.

It has been two years since 19-year-old Siobhan Russell was found brutally stabbed to death by her 17-year-old boyfriend in Oak Hill, Virginia. In 2010, Siobhan’s abuser was arrested and sentenced to 40 years in prison. After living through this horrific event, Siobhan’s mother was determined to do all that she could to prevent other acts of abuse and violence. She now runs an organization to raise awareness about teen dating violence, where she speaks to communities about the warning signs of dating violence. She is an example for us all.

February is National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month and it is critical that we take this time to remember that domestic violence is not just a problem for adults. One in three adolescents in the US will be a victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse from a dating partner. Nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser. And two-thirds of teens who are in an abusive relationship never tell anyone about the abuse. It’s time to shine a light on this issue.

Recognizing abuse in a relationship can be difficult, especially for teens. There are many types of abuse that young people may believe are normal in a relationship. Even though teen relationships may be different from adult relationships, teens can experience the same types of abuse. Teens also face unique obstacles if they decide to get help. They may not have money, transportation or a safe place to go. They may also concerns about confidentiality with many adults obligated to make reports to police, parents and/or child protective services.

But, teens have a right to safe and healthy relationships. Every community and family should take the lead in raising awareness and preventing teen dating violence. There are many ways that you can take part:

  • Encourage legislators to introduce laws that require teen dating violence education in the classroom. Teens spend the majority of their time in school or at school-related activities and without laws in place to protect them, domestic and sexual violence among teens will continue to cause upheaval at home and at school. Encourage school leaders to step up if legislators will not and offer to pay the often small fees (less than $100) for effective dating violence prevention curricula.
  • Know the laws in your State.
  • Take the time to educate yourself and others about teen dating violence. The following websites offer information about teen dating violence and what you can do to help:

Like Siobhan’s mother, you can make a difference.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Talking About Teen Dating Violence/Abuse…

February 2, 2011 Comments off

The rise of teen dating abuse and violence is rising faster than most expect.

One major trend we have seen is the obsessiveness that young couples can have.  Here are some ideas to be aware of:

1) Low self-esteem causes different behavior

If teenagers, or anyone has low self-esteem it can cause them to be more desperate for connection or control.  Teenagers, developmentally tend to have lower self-esteem as their bodies change.  Low self-esteem can also cause couples to be more jealous and needy of each other, which can be a precursor to abuse.

2) Control can be addictive

I talk to teenagers all day long about what they are anxious about.  Many of them feel very out of control and this scares them.   Teens tend to rarely be in control; rather they are usually being controlled.  They are controlled by parents, teachers, principles, counselors, coaches, colleges and bosses.  What they can control is another teenager and this can over extension of control can be a form of abuse.

3) Control and monitoring is now easier

It is actually easy to smother someone without even realizing it.  We can text, MySpace message, Facebook stalk, call, IM, BBIM, email or ping.  I have often written about teens need to constantly be connected and abuse often stems from people needing to be connected to another more frequently.  Smothering, which might not be abusive, but is abnormal nonetheless, is so much easier in a digital age.

4) Obsessiveness can go unnoticed

Because everyone is connected all the time, teens might not even realize how obsessed or compulsive they are with the other person.  This allows the behavior to continue far longer and at a much higher rate than ever before.

5) Inequality breeds discomfort

This concept is nothing new.  I have heard young couples talk about inequality in relationships.  The idea of “who has the power” is something that teens today are much more aware of.  It is the reason men wait 3 days to call a girl back (need to be the one with the power) and no one wants to say “I love you” first.  This kind of thinking, can lead to abuse or unhealthy relationships.

6) Abuse does not only have to be physical

Abuse can be emotional, verbal, psychological or physical.  This is an important idea to explain to new couples.  Often times, someone in the relationship (see inequality above) feels uncomfortable, but is afraid to say anything because they think it is normal or would not qualify as abuse.

7) Lack of connection means they need more to connect on

The cotton candy friend epidemic is a huge issue because teens are not feeling as connected or intimate with their friends because all of their interaction is so superficial.  This can make young people, who are starving for closeness, crave a smothering or obsessive relationship more than previous generations.

Please print out this blogpost and discuss it with your kids or if your child is in a relationship, ask them to gauge their connection—this can be a great way for you to get to know your teens!

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Anny Jacoby Featured on PI Answers with Host, Vicki Childs, PI via ImaginePublcity

February 2, 2011 Comments off

PI Answers From Vicki Childs, PI on Here Women Talk Network broadcast by Zeus Radio

Thursday, February 3, 11am-12noon ET

Join Vicki Childs, Private Investigator, former Federal Agent, Masters in Criminal Justice, Director of the South Carolina Association of Legal Investigators, 1996 investigator of the year, and 2009 Who’s Who Award winner.  Vicki and her guests reveal secrets of confirming adultery, pre-marital backgrounds, checking on your nanny; the latest technologies available to investigators and everyday people (personal GPS devices, etc.); how to protect yourself, your children, your privacy, your computer and more. For 24 years she has conducted civil and criminal investigations in many states and outside the U.S.  Join her to learn about the interesting world of private investigations through examples of her own cases and with guests who are experts in many areas.  The phone lines will be open for Vicki and her guests to answer all your questions from personal safety to crime-related issues to tools you can use to be safer and make more informed decisions.

Find Vicki at

Anny Jacoby

Anny Jacoby, Owner/President of The Realistic Female Self-Defense Company and Project Safe Girls, passionately campaigns for every female to have the absolute right to protect and defend herself.

After surviving her own assault, Anny took steps to turn her passion to help victims into her life’s work. After several years of volunteer advocacy she founded her company based on a realistic approach for females to protect themselves, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, building confidence and self esteem.

Anny’s mission is to reach out to every avenue available to teach these skills at the corporate level, to emergency services, victim support groups and agencies, schools, colleges and health service providers. Her professional programs are designed for every age group from children to seniors, as well as a program designed specifically for the disabled.

Anny has added a new division to her company, Project Safe Girls in 2010.

Joining Anny Jacoby as a guest is Lisa Lambeth, Instructor: Lisa began her federal career as a federal law enforcement officer in Dallas, Texas, where she worked for 15 years.  Most of those years she spent working cases involving high level drug dealers, career white collar offenders, gang members, violent offenders and organized crime members. It was in this position that she worked on numerous task force operations including the Domestic Terrorism Task Force, the Asian Gang Task Force and The Russian Organized Crime Task Force.  She also served as an assistant firearms instructor for 15 years.

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