HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – One Chesapeake woman described being bitten, dumped in a trashcan and hit in the face during a violent relationship she was in as a teenager.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
It’s a problem that is happening across Hampton Roads and around the country.
23-year-old Isamar Garcia said she was in a relationship as a teen that started off with a lot of verbal abuse and then escalated to physical abuse.
She said the violence started when she was 16 years old.
She admits that she, too, would get violent with the boy.
Garcia called the relationship toxic.
She said fear prevented her from going to the hospital or getting help from others.
“I just kept thinking about all the trouble that he and I would get into if I involved my parents or the authorities,” said Garcia.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 11 females and 1 in 14 males in high school reported being in some kind of physically abusive relationship last year.
Neisha Himes is the founder of the GROW Foundation, an organization designed to help domestic violence victims.
She said teen dating violence is occurring right now. She said parents need to educate their children, be on the look out for problems and talk about the issue.
According to the CDC, teen dating violence has profound impact on lifelong health, opportunity and well-being. They said unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime.
They report that teen dating violence (TDV), also called, “dating violence," is an adverse childhood experience that affects millions of young people in the United States. They said dating violence can take place in person, online or through technology.
The CDC said it is a type of intimate partner violence that can include the following types of behavior:
- Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force.
- Sexual violence is forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act and or sexual touching when the partner does not or cannot consent. It also includes non-physical sexual behaviors like posting or sharing sexual pictures of a partner without their consent or sexting someone without their consent.
- Psychological aggression is the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm a partner mentally or emotionally and/or exert control over a partner.
- Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone close to the victim.
Click here for more information about the GROW Foundation.
Additional resources can be found here.