Preventing violence in teen dating relationships - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Preventing violence in teen dating relationships

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

February's focus is often on love and the roses and candy associated with Valentine's Day. But loving and healthy dating relationships aren't a reality for everyone and that includes teens that are dating.

Tiarrus Harris, an 11th grader described a situation where a teen girl was pushed to the ground by her boyfriend. Harris is one of dozens of students and parents who want to be able to help out in situations like that and attended the "Butterflies by Grace Parent and Teen Dating Conference."

A number of speakers, including those from the Hinds County Sheriff's Department and the Mississippi Coalition against Sexual Assault spent time educating the group about healthy dating relationships, versus violent ones.

One in three U.S. teens is victim to physical, sexual, emotional or verbal dating abuse. The statistic didn't surprise some of the teens at the conference because they've seen the abuse among peers.

"I see it like a lot everyday different situations it's not always like physical abuse, but verbal abuse with a lot of guys and females," said 11th grader, Jamaurea Smith.

Eva Jones, the founder of "Butterflies by Grace" stresses that abuse is a learned behavior, it's not defined by where you live.

"It doesn't matter as far as your education, it doesn't matter your zip code, it doesn't matter what you look like," said Jones.

Whether you're a teen or an adult, if you're experiencing an abusive relationship, experts say speak up for help because silence is often the worst abuse.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship and needs help there are a number of people and resources available to you. A couple of those resources include the National Youth Crisis Line and The Center for Violence Prevention.

The National Youth Crisis Line number is 800-448-4663 or find the organization on the web at http://www.allaboutcounseling.com/crisis_hotlines.htm.  

You can contact the Center for Violence Prevention at 800-266-4198 or  601-932-4198 or online at http://mscvp.org/.

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