MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
Experts at the Rape Crisis Center in Myrtle Beach say this is an issue they see in our area and attended a conference just last month in Georgetown where several teens were there to tell their stories.
According to Loveisrespect.org, one in three teens are victims of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.
Additionally, nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year; this while only one third of teens who experience dating violence tell someone.
Bevelyn Mitchell, outreach and awareness coordinator at the Rape Crisis Center, tells News13, manipulation, isolation and possessiveness are all traits of an abusive relationship.
Mitchell says parents should ask questions if they believe something is wrong and look for changes in their teens.
“A behavior in their child that they are not spending as much time with family as they typically would, or if they are always on their phone, or if their attitude has changed, or if they are just in this funk all the time,” Mitchell said. “Parents can’t always figure out what’s going on and it could be that they are being pressured into something they don’t want to do.”
Mitchell says though knowing the red flags of a relationship is important, she says it is also important to teach children and young adults the characteristics of a healthy relationship; things like respect, healthy conflict and equality.
Abusive relationships can leave teens feeling helpless and sometimes could even result in self-harm, Mitchell says.
“Know your worth,” Mitchell said. “Know that you’re worthy. Know that you are valued, and no one should be able to take that away from you. If you feel like you’re losing that and headed down a slippery slope, talk to a trusted adult.”
If you or your child is in an abusive relationship, you can find more resources from the Rape Crisis Center in Myrtle Beach here.