BEAUFORT/JASPER COUNTY, SC (WSAV) – One in three teens will experience some sort of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become an adult.
It’s a frightening statistic, and one of many that a Lowcountry agency is working to change.
1 in 11 teenage girls and 1 in 15 teenage boys have experienced some kind of physical violence in their romantic relationships in the past year.
To put it in terms you can understand even better.
“If you know 10 teen girls you know someone in that bunch who has experienced some sort of physical violence in the last year,” said James Morrall, Hopeful Horizons Director of Prevention and Outreach.
That’s why the CDC now classifies teen dating violence as a public health issue.
Many times the issue cant be seen physically, from just a punch or a slap.
“At the heart of it is where one party is trying to gain or maintain control,” explains Morrall. “Situations where somebody would possibly pressure you to share your personal passwords or demanding your location.”
“Or on social media threatening to tell your friends a secret that only the two of you know.”
While there are good online sites like Loveisrespect.org to help teens find out more, and what not to do.
Many still make mistakes, not knowing how to communicate with their partners.. or parents when they do need help.
“They are embarrassed to potentially talk to their peers about actually what’s happening to them,” said Morrall. “They may have lots of fear or be scared to tell their parents or guardians what’s happening to them.”
That’s where Hopeful Horizons teen violence dating series comes in.
A one on one video chat so everyone can better understand what’s happening, to let them know they aren’t alone, and show them what needs to happen to make it stop.
“To really try and help parents and guardians to understand how to engage with, have conversations with,” explains Morrall. “and also help motive some teens that have been experiencing some forms of help.”
“We want to make sure we start the conversations with everybody in our community about identifying those red flags. Once we have a good baseline on what a healthy relationship is, vs an unhealthy relationship.”
Hopeful Horizons also offers many different free services for teens and adults. The services help with the prevention of abuse, as well as counselors and therapists and people they can talk to.
For more information go to hopefulhorizons.org or you can call their 24-hour support line at (843)770-1070.