Overcoming Teen Dating Violence

This time last year I had the pleasure of speaking with the Parent Advisory Council at Dyett High School in Chicago. I was blessed with the opportunity to speak not only from a professional observation on how prevalent Teen Dating Violence is, but also from a personal one as a Survivor. My first abusive relationship happened at the age of 17 years old. I was young, naive, and in love or so I thought. I did not have a clue about what abuse was and I did not have any friends that could relate to being abused. This particular relationship was physically abusive, however, there were subtle signs that I ignored because I simply did not know any better. And as the saying goes, when you know better you do better. I left that toxic relationship by the age of 19 years old, but not without scars that ran emotionally deep. Yes, the bruises and black eye healed, but the emotional abuse and mental anguish that followed took more time to recover from. I wrote about my story in my award winning novel, Not By My Own. I wanted others to know that despite how they feel, they are not alone.

That is why I am so big on spreading prevention. When I taught my signature workshop Teen Dating Violence 101, both the teens and the staff were surprised at the statistics. To book me for your next teen workshop complete the form on the CONTACT US page. I want to take a moment to share a resource with you. Store it in your phone and save it. You just never know how it may help a teen in need. Ready? Text loveis to 22522. A trained professional will assist you. You can text your concerns as a teen or as an adult who works with teens or as a parent and get help in real time. For more resources visit loveisrespect.org. I am not affiliated with this organization, but I believe in their mission.

Let’s talk facts: Did you know that 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence? This may not come as a surprise because it is viewed as such a taboo topic to begin with. We must break the stigma surrounding domestic violence in order to break the cycle. Don’t think this applies to you? Well according to nrcdv.org, every year approximately 1.5 million high school students NATIONWIDE experience physical abuse from a dating partner. Chances are you may be indirectly impacted by this, so learning what to look out for is crucial. I shared on my previous blog, Overcoming Denial: I Didn't Get Hit, Is That Still Abuse? the power and control wheel. Studying this wheel will help you identify what abuse looks like.

Let’s talk experience: I shared earlier that I was in a teen dating relationship that was abusive. Hear more about my story and how you can help your teen avoid the getting into the same predicament below! Let me know how this resonates with you in the comments and share to save a life! The color for Teen Dating Violence Month is orange, so if you wear any orange in support of spreading awareness - tag me on Instagram. February 12th is Wear Orange 4 Love Day, so this would be a perfect day to do so!