LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Each year more than a million high school students in the U.S. are physically abused by someone they’re dating. Unfortunately only 33% of victims ever disclose the abuse. We’re here for you with the warning signs that could save lives.
February is teen dating violence awareness month and those at End Violent Encounters or EVE want people to know this doesn’t just mean physical abuse.
EVE Community outreach director Leah Dryer said, “Emotional abuse, psychological, financial exploitation, using a social status, isolation are all different forms of dating violence that teens aren’t necessarily gonna realize.”
Teen dating violence can happen to all genders.
“We actually call it an equal opportunity destroyer because it doesn’t care your age, your race, ethnicity,” Dryer said.
The warning signs of abuse include, but are not limited to, a diminishing social circle, giving up things that are important to them, and unexplained injuries or explanations for injuries that don’t make sense.
If you know someone going through teen dating violence Dryer said to be supportive and, “Start the conversation by saying, “I’m really concerned about your safety.” That seems to be a really good way to get in. It’s not as abrupt as saying I think you’re being abused.”
It’s important to have a safe plan when you’re ready to leave the relationship, which can be the most dangerous time.
Dryer said, “People are seven times more likely to become a victim of homicide at that point.”
When they are safely out and no longer dealing with abuse Dryer said, “Teens and kids are really good at building up resiliency to live happy healthy relationships.”
According to EVE, 1 in 4 teens report being abused through technology. If you suspect abuse or potential harm directed at students, school employees, or schools, you can now report it by going to https://www.michigan.gov/ok2say/ or using the Ok2Say app.
If you are experiencing TDV anywhere, give EVE a call at 517-372-5572.
For more information on teen dating violence, visit www.loveisrespect.org.