Saturday, August 24, 2013

Teen dating violence more common than we think

By Boua Xiong~St. Paul, Minn. NBC Kare 11 News 
New research presented at the American Psychological Association's annual convention shows that about one in three teens have been victims of dating violence and one in three admit they've been violent towards a date.
Researchers analyzed information from 1,058 teens collected by a national online survey between 2011 and 2012. The study defines abuse as physical, sexual or emotional violence.
The study also found that girls are just as likely to be the abuser as they are to be victims. According to the data 41 percent of girls reported being victimized and 35 percent reported being the abuser. Meanwhile 37 percent of boys said they have been on the receiving end while 29 percent reported being the abuser.
Jennifer Hutchings is all too familiar with the reality of teen dating violence. In February her 16-year-old daughter, Anna Hurd, was stabbed to death at Hillside Park in February. The murderer was 17-year old Anthony Mitchell, her boyfriend.
"It's still very fresh for me and I still break down daily and cry for daughter," Hutchings said.
Hurd tried to break it off with Mitchell. Prosecutors say that's when he stabbed her five times. Hutchings said Hurd never talked about any abuse but her friends saw all the signs.
"Anthony went through her phone quite a bit according to her friends. She would always have to hand it over to him," Hutchings said.
The National Dating Abuse Hotline says only 33 percent of teens who are in an abusive relationship ever tell anyone.
Jody Cowdin is the executive director of the Dwelling Place, a transitional shelter for domestic abuse victims. She said the effects of young violent relationships can be long-term.
"If that's what they've been witnessing that's what they will grow up to repeat unless we intervene, unless we offer them education in a different choice," Cowdin said. 
As part of that education the Dwelling Place sends experts to talk to teens about dating violence. Cowdin even wrote a book called "A Kid's Guide to Understanding Domestic Abuse" to help the youngest victims break the cycle.
Hurd's mother also turned her grief into writing. She's co-authoring a book about Hurd's story and hopes other teens will get out of violent relationships before it's too late.

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