SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – While domestic violence cases are often highlighted in news reports and other media, not as widely discussed is the problem of teenage victims in abusive relationships.
A study in this week’s Pediatrics journal shows teens in abusive relationships may be more likely to develop emotional problems and substance abuse issues as they age.
One Bay Area woman who went through the trauma of teen domestic violence now wants to use her story to help others.
“It all started at the Back to School Dance my sophomore year of high school,” recounted the woman who, at the age of 15, fell victim to dating violence while at Palo Alto’s Gunn High School. “I saw this boy dancing and thought he was very cute and we spent the whole night just dancing with each other.”
Soon, she was hooked.
“It was perfect, you know started as a relationship that you see in the movies,” she recalled.
That quickly changed, with the boyfriend not wanting her to hang out with her friends or to participate in any extracurricular activities.
“He became my entire life,” she summed it up.
He even started to drive a wedge between the girl and her parents.
“I started to kind of question why I couldn’t have guy friends or why he always needed to know what I was doing and it would turn into little verbal abusive spats and then it got physical.”
KCBS’ Jeffrey Schaub Reports:
Her life changed forever one night, at a party. Her boyfriend had, she later learned, been doing drugs in a bathroom.
Out of the blue, she recounted, they crossed paths in a bedroom and things turned violent.
“He gave me this look and lifted his leg up and swung it at me, hit me right in the ribs, I flew across the room and hit my head on the wall, was knocked unconscious for six hours, woke up with two bruised ribs and a concussion,” she said.
The boy ultimately entered a rehab program but didn’t serve any time for the assault.
She found that her friends actually alienated her – she believes because the boy was such a popular athlete on campus. She elected to leave school.
She has since landed on the staff at a university in Southern California, where she lectures about teen dating abuse. Her experience, unfortunately, is all too common.
“There are so many different kinds of abusive relationships that are going on out there and I just hope that my speaking out is going to help people realize and maybe part of my story clicked with you or your daughter.”
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474.
Listen for Jeffrey’s Cover Story reports, “Teen Violence,” Monday through Friday, Dec. 10 – 14, at 6:20 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 12:20 p.m., 4:20 p.m. and 9:20 p.m. on All News 740 and FM 106.9 KCBS.
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