Look for the signs of an abusive relationship, seek help

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 27, 2018

February is Teen Dating and Violence Prevention Month. According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, last year approximately 1 in 10 teenagers reported incidents where their partners abused them.

Violence in a relationship can take several forms including physical, emotional or sexual, the severity of which could have a lifelong impact.

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Toni Tucei, a counselor at Picayune Memorial High School, said teenagers in abusive relationships are often seeking individuals to confide in.

She said that an adult’s legal obligation to report incidents of abuse cause children to keep the abuse to themselves.

Tucei said teenagers may not consider their situation as abusive and as such choose to continue in relationships that could severely affect them on an emotional level, which can leave lasting scars.

Brittany Nicole Stewart, a social worker at Pearl River Central High School, said regardless of how teenagers feel about their abusive relationship, it is best to seek the assistance of an adult.

She said once the adult understands the teen’s situation they can seek professional help. Counseling and therapy can allow the affected teen to reveal the abusive details of their relationship, determine the need to seek a better partner and guide them through the healing process.

Stewart said it is important that the identity of abused teenagers remain confidential once they’ve ended the abusive relationship.

She said it is important to share with friends and family but if a teen feels insecure about approaching an adult they can write down their feelings.

Tucei said adults should be aware of the anonymous methods outside of school teens can employ to report incidents of abuse.

“Teen dating violence is common and it’s not ok for them to be hurt emotionally and physically. They need to reach out for help,” Stewart said.

Anonymous reports of abuse can be made by calling 1-800-222-8000.