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Ruth’s House seeks to shed light on teen dating violence

It’s a problem we don’t always talk about, but teen dating violence is happening every day. Throughout the month of February, Ruth’s House is working to raise awareness of a problem encountered by many teenagers when first exploring dating. It’s part of a nationwide campaign during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

“Before kids are even entering the dating world, this is something they need to learn about,” Ruth’s House Client Services Coordinator Jaclyn Cullipher said. “Talking to teens and young adults about healthy relationships is key in ending dating violence, and we all can play a role, whether you are a parent, school official, youth minister, family or just a friend.”

It is this idea of building healthy relationships, and helping provide guidance and support for those in unhealthy relationships, that drives the mission of Ruth’s House.

According to statistics from BreaktheCycle.org, a national organization devoted to helping teens and young adults develop healthy relationships, one in three high school students experiences physical, emotional or verbal abuse from someone they are dating, and nearly 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse in a single year. While Cullipher says these numbers are not necessarily reflective of Beaufort County, instances of domestic/sexual violence tend to be under-reported as a whole.

On Tuesday, the organization is asking supporters throughout Beaufort County to wear orange to help raise awareness of teen dating violence during Orange4Love Day.

“We ask that you snap a picture of your Orange4Love look and share with us on Facebook using #Orange4Love,” Cullipher said.

Culliper emphasized that Ruth’s House strives to be a resource not only for survivors of domestic violence, but for the people they confide in — parents, school counselors, ministers — if you know of someone impacted by teen dating violence or domestic violence in general, Ruth’s House is there to help.

“We would love to help you host an education or prevention event, hang up posters about dating abuse and talk with you about our services and other resources available in our area,” Cullipher said.

Anyone interested in joining Ruth’s House in raising awareness and breaking the cycle of violence, or who is experiencing violence themselves, is invited to call the organization at 252-940-0007. For more information about teen dating violence, and daily information about domestic violence year round, visit the organization’s Facebook page at @ruthshouseDV.

SIGNS OF TEEN DATING VIOLENCE

According to www.teendvmonth.org, the following can be red flags in a relationship. If your partner frequently engages in these behaviors, it is wise to speak to someone with whom you feel comfortable.

  • Excessive jealousy or insecurity
  • Invasions of your privacy
  • Unexpected bouts of anger or rage
  • Unusual moodiness
  • Pressuring a partner into unwanted sexual activity
  • Blaming you for problems in the relationship and not taking any responsibility for the same
  • Controlling tendencies
  • Explosive temper
  • Preventing you from going out with or talking to other people
  • Constantly monitoring your whereabouts and checking in to see what you are doing and who you are with
  • Falsely accusing you of things
  • Vandalizing or ruining your personal property
  • Taunting or bullying
  • Threatening or causing physical violence