While many couples are celebrating love on Valentine’s Day, it is important to remember there’s a difference between a healthy and abusive relationship. This can be hard for teens to understand.
February is Teen Dating Violence Month.
Every year, approximately 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner. That’s according to the Domestic Violence Awareness Project.
Sometimes abuse can be subtle, and recognizing it may hard, and the realization can come too late.
Jill Miller is a counselor with the school prevention program at Compass Family and Community Servies in Youngstown. She said the important thing to know is some of the signs of abuse.
Miller says it can start out small with compliments on clothing that turns into controlling what a person wears. It could also be controlling behavior with text messages that aren’t immediately answered.
“Teachers within the schools are thanking me because they are saying this is a very real problem that their students are having, and some of them don’t even realize that they are victims of abuse until they are educated on what that is,” Miller said.
A hotline is set up for teens can call 24/7 if they need help. The number 1-866-331-9474.
Several apps are available for parents and teens. The Love is Not Abuse app helps parents understand digital abuse with cell phones and online aggression. The One Love Foundation app helps users determine if they are in an abusive relationship, and the Circle of 6 app is for college students and their friends to stay close, safe and prevent violence before it happens.
All the apps can be downloaded in the App Store and Google Play store.