One in four teenagers are in an abusive relationships
A study found that 20 percent of teens will experience violence while dating, it also found 25 percent will be emotionally abused.
Even more alarming the majority of teenagers aren’t telling anyone if they’re in an abusive relationship.
End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin is launching their Dare 2 Know campaign to promote healthy dating relationships for teenagers.
They’re launching a website where teens can go to find out if they’re in an abusive relationship and get help if needed.
We spoke with a couple of high schoolers at the Boys & Girls Club, including Andriel Morgan, a student at Central High School, who told us how common this really is.
“The boys can get really, really controlling,” Morgan said.
Morgan guesses that 90 percent of her friends are in abusive or controlling relationships.
“You’re not going outside like that-put on some long Clothes,” Morgan said.
She said boys will tell her friends what they can wear, who they can hang out with and what they can do.
“No you’re not hanging out with them, I don’t like them,” Morgan said.
Some of her friends have even experienced violence.
“He pushed her like against the locker and like she told us a week later because she knew we were going to get mad and we were going to do something about it,” Morgan said
Dareales Phillips, another student at Central High School, has similar observations.
“They don’t really talk about it, they just do what that person says because that’s who they want, that’s who they want to be with,” Phillips said.
Even though there are several organizations that help adults in domestic abuse situations, most of them aren’t focused on teenagers.
Patti Seger, the executive director at End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, said, “People haven’t given teen relationships the kind of seriousness they should.”
Seger says the mental abuse can be worse than physical abuse.
“It’s those words and the control that really gets into somebody’s psyche and creates a formula for them to be doubtful about who they are as a person,” Seger said.
That mental abuse is something Phillips has witnessed firsthand.
“Their self-confidence is so battered down from that person telling them what to do, or no one wants them and all of this, so they stay with that person and they don’t realize how much they’re actually being affected by it,” Phillips said.
It’s even gotten to a point where some of Phillip’s friends have become suicidal.
“I’ve had people text me or call me saying that they don’t want to be here anymore, they want to end it all,” Phillips said.
All of this can be happening without anyone ever finding out.
“Most of the time they don’t tell a parent,” Phillips said.
End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin said if a teenager is in an abusive relationship they may be more withdrawn and not interested in the normal activities that used to make them happy.
Both genders experience abuse at a high rate. A survey done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than one in three women and one in four men have experienced sexual assault, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner.
If you know a teenager who may be in an abusive relationship you can go to dare2wi.org to read more information and get help.
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