FRIDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- Though many teens find it difficult to talk about dating violence or abuse, the shroud of secrecy may be even harder to get through for same-sex couples.
New York resident Sheila Rodriguez, 26, was just 13 years old when she started dating another girl in her school. She said it was about a year before the relationship took a decidedly nasty turn.
"At first, it was all verbal abuse -- putting each other down and name calling," Rodriguez recalled. "We made each other mentally dependent on one another so that neither of us could find someone better."
Then things escalated. "The name-calling led to pushing, shoving, grabbing and eventually, at its worst, scratching, slapping and choking," she said.
Both girls were guilty of abusing the other. "Sadly, it never really occurred to me that this was wrong," Rodriguez said. "And, if it did for her, she never said so out loud."
Rodriguez said they would come up with excuses for the physical evidence left on them, like saying that bruises were from gym class or that scratches were from the sharp edges of a locker or the family dog. But, she said, few really questioned the marks on them. The other girl's mother did ask but apparently was satisfied with the given explanation, she said.
"Throughout the relationship, the only way we discussed the violence was how to cover it up," Rodriguez said. "It was a very 'us against the world' relationship that no one would understand -- we thought. We didn't want to be kept apart or get in trouble. It was our first real relationship, and it's almost like we didn't know anything different."
She said she's sure that if she had been dating a young man, her parents and others would have raised concerns, but because she was with a girl, no one suspected that violence could be an issue. The situation even blinded both girls to their dysfunction
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