Teen dating violence more common than you may think

CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – February marks Teen Dating Violence Awareness month. It’s a way to shine a light on dating abuse among young people.

Every year, about 1.5 million high school students across the U.S. experience physical, emotional or sexual abuse from a dating partner. The Centers for Disease Control finds most parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence.

Dr. Alice Neuman, with Canfield Counseling Clinic, said teens are vulnerable when it comes to breaking away from a troubled relationship.

“There is a lot of status when somebody is dating and sometimes a person will put up with too much just to keep that going,” said Dr. Alice Neuman, of the Canfield Counseling Clinic.

Neuman said the teenage years are filled with peer pressure and the desire to fit in. When it comes to dating, the best thing parents can do is create an atmosphere of openness where kids know they can talk without judgment, and parents will look at things from their child’s point of view.

It’s also important to stress that dating someone doesn’t mean control.

“He or she should not be thinking that they own or control a person and they are free to do whatever they want to that person,” Neuman said.

It is important for teens experiencing an abusive relationship to speak up and the “Me Too” movement is helping with that. Several resources for teens and parents about dating violence are available through the Domestic Violence Awareness Project.