“There are brands no one should wear. Domestic violence is a crime." -APAV
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FACT: 40% of teenage girls ages 14 to 17 say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.
This is an issue that is very close to me... in case you didn't know October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence isn't something that only happens to middle aged married or a "red neck" couples, it's something that can happen to anyone. What many people don't realize is domestic violence does happen frequently, especially among teens.
The media skims over the fact that teen relationships don't only consist of partying, sex, and high school. Teenage relationships are deeply rooted in strong emotions like a first love. However, these strong emotions can mask the fact that the relationship is unhealthy and even sometimes abusive. Domestic violence can be looked over by the friends and family as "drama" or "personal problems" when in reality there is real abuse going on (wither it is verbal or physical).
It is up to close friends and family to step in and stop the abuse. The victim may not realize that what is happening to them is considered abuse or they might even think it is the consequences of their actions that is leading to the abuse.
It is embarrassing and hurtful to admit that you are being abused. You don't want to admit it to yourself or to your friends and family. Its also hard to wrap your head around the concept that someone you're in love with would ever do something like this to you. Also, I have seen many of my friends go through extremely abusive relationships, some ending by the choice of the victim and others ending by the force of the law. It hurts my heart that there are young victims of domestic violence looking for someone to reach out to but they don't know how.
If you suspect that one of your friends or family members is being abused PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE talk to them. Be there for them and help them take steps to end the abuse. Show your support this month by wearing a purple ribbon.
For more information on how to get help or how to get involved, please check out these links:
Love is respect – National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
Stop Violence Against Women Campaign
Love is Not Abuse
The Domestic Violence Awareness Project
The Body Shop: Break The Silence Against Domestic Violence - Talk to a Friend