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Teenagers can be susceptible to domestic violence, too

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month — a good reminder that this problem doesn’t affect only adults.

Donna Bartos, executive director at Phoenix-based bloom365, said her agency taught over 23,000 Valley teens about healthy relationships between 2013 and 2017.

Fifty-five percent of them, she said, have experienced dating violence.

“And, more alarming, over 30 percent identify as those who are causing harm,” she said.

“Teen dating violence sometimes results in homicide.”

Bartos said emotions often run high in relationships, especially jealousy, and that’s normal with everyone – including teenagers.

On the other hand, she said, it’s a matter of understanding “When does that emotion go from being able to talk about your insecurities, to crossing a line to being controlling?”

Many teens, Bartos said, don’t tell anyone what’s going on because of circumstances at home or in their life. Therefore, she said, community is essential in stopping this problem.

“We need everybody — from schools to parents to communities to media outlets — everybody talking about this,” she said, “but also making sure that we’re alleviating these barriers that young people face.

“It’s hard for a teen to say, ‘Hey I’m experiencing this,’ or ‘Hey, I’m going through this,’ and then … figure out how they can connect to help.”

If you or a teen you know is experiencing dating or domestic violence, here are some resources:

Red flags in relationships.

• National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: 1-800-656-4673.

Arizona Coalition to End Sexual & Domestic Violence.

• National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.

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