Shattered Lives: Looking at a rise in teen dating violence

Published: Nov. 19, 2018 at 7:14 PM CST
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There has been a disturbing rise in the number of teenagers asking for help from east Mississippi's support services.

Teens today face a lot of challenges most adults didn't have growing up. Pressure to look good on social media, online bullying and being connected to classmates 24 hours a day.

Experts say it could be partly to blame for a worrying spike in the number of young people in abusive relationships.

An anonymous survey revealed 1 in 3 teens are victims of dating violence. One in 10 high school students is physically abused by their partner. Only 30 percent of them spoke up about what was happening.

Care Lodge is a domestic violence shelter which also provides other support services to victims. Its community coordinator, Sara Smith, has been working with other agencies to teach high school kids about healthy relationships.

"We all get together for this huge, huge workshop to try to get those seeds planted, those seeds of hope. To let people know that they're not alone and if they're ever in a situation, don't ever be afraid to reach out for help because it's not a good thing and it's not something silence makes better. It makes it worse." Smith said.

"If a 15-year-old calls us, we're not going to turn around and call their mom. It's going to remain confidential with us," said Leslie Payne, executive director of Care Lodge.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call Care Lodge at 601-693-4673.