Breaking the Cycle of Abuse Before it's too late
Teens and young adults are the most at-risk age groups for dating and domestic violence. Which is why it’s important for teens, and their supportive adults, to learn the warning signs of abuse and how to respond to those at risk.
“At this very school, I had a friend in an abusive relationship, and it broke my heart that I didn’t know how to help her,” said Fayette Cares Victim Advocate Janisha Lax (pictured left). She and Fayette Cares Victim Advocate Mykaila Dye (right) collaborated with Fayette County Public Schools Project AWARE to help nearly 200, 9th grade Fayette Ware Comprehensive High School students learn about unhealthy relationships during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistic, abusers most often target women ages 16 to 24 and these young women experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, almost triple the national average.
Young people are particularly vulnerable because they may be new to relationships, more trusting, more impulsive, and may not have learned what healthy boundaries look like.
At the presentation, teens swarmed to the Fayette Cares Advocates privately sharing personal stories and asking about behaviors, including aggressive text messages from their partners. Some students came to realize that they were experiencing dating abuse or witnessing abuse in their homes, or that their friends were in unhealthy relationships.
“One young lady and I had a heart to heart because her partner had begun taunting and bulling her,” said Janisha. After learning that the relationship started healthy then quickly turned dangerous, Janisha helped the student make a safety plan and told her about the services available through Fayette Cares. “She hugged me, in tears, and was so grateful for the support,” said Janisha. “I remembered feeling powerless to help my friend back when I was in high school. But now we can give young people the tools to help end abuse.”
Contact us to learn how you or your group can end dating violence.