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YWCA raises awareness of teen dating violence

Studies done by the YWCA show one in three teenagers will experience an unhealthy relationship in their high school years.

Posted: Feb. 1, 2018 5:43 PM
Updated: Feb. 2, 2018 9:49 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Millions of young people are affected by violent relationships every year in the United States. That's why Mayor Tom Henry signed a proclamation today about teenage dating awarness month, and the YWCA is working closely with the city to help spread the word.

One of the things affecting how teens treat each other in relationships is social media.

"Social media has definitely added a new layer to teen dating violence. It's something that allows for people to be in communication all the time. So even when a teenager is away from their dating partner, it's like they're still there," said Jennifer Rohlf, director of empowerment at the YWCA.

Studies done by the YWCA show one in three teenagers will experience an unhealthy relationship in their high school years.

"Things like jealousy and control and manipulating their partner are things that are not okay, but so often parents are not having those conversations with their kids because they might be aware of what's going on in some of these unhealthy relationships," Rohlf said.

It's also important to talk to teenagers about what they should expect in a relationship.

"Talking to them about what does it really mean to be respectful, to have trust, to support a partner," Rohlf said.

Kandi Hall's kids are all grown up, but when they were teenagers, she said she constantly worried.

"You never know who the person truly is until you get to know them better," Hall said.

Hall said she not only told her daughter what she should expect, she taught her self defense and what to do if she's put in a dangerous situation.

"Make sure they always left traces they were there by leaving finger prints everywhere they could, claw or scratch to leave DNA," Hall said.

The YWCA will host several events this month to raise awareness of teen dating violence. We'll keep you updated on these events on air and online.

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