Dating Violence a Big Problem For Texas Teens

(The 33 News – 2/9/09)

Norris Deajon, The 33 News

February 9, 2009

“This is someone who said I’ll never lay a hand on a girl. You know you’ll hear guys say that.”

A 23-year-old woman who asked to remain anonymous told us that’s what her former boyfriend told her two years ago. Then he started abusing her. She has the scars to prove it.

“He was throwing me on the ground. At one point he held me up on the wall by the throat. I got thrown out of a car. I had a black eye for about a week.”

The victim says fear kept her from leaving the abuse for months. Experts say dating violence is very common among today’s teens and young adults. According to a United Nations study, one in five high school girls reports being physically or sexually abused by someone they were dating.

It’s an issue state officials are concerned about. Two years ago they passed House Bill 121 which makes lessons about dating violence mandatory in Texas’ public high schools.

“An abuser is someone who is very capable of killing someone.”

That’s what teen counselor Sherene Abraham of the New Beginning Center tells kids when she talks with them in North Texas high schools. Abraham says some warning signs that a partner could become an abuser are jealousy, anger, and alcohol or drug abuse. She says controlling behavior is one of the most common signs these days.

Abraham said, ” Such as going through their cellphones and checking their text messages, going through who’s on their contact list, looking at their pictures that they’ve taken, going on their Myspace page and trying to control who’s on their top friends.”

Abraham tells teens if someone is abusing them it’s not their fault. It took the victim we spoke to months to realize that. She said after going through it she knows you have to get out and get help.

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