2010-Feb-24, Growing Number of Teens Are Experiencing Abuse

February is the first ever Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. It comes at a time when a growing number of teens are experiencing abuse.

From pushing, to name-calling, to pressuring a partner to have sex, all of these things are considered abuse.

"Teen dating violence is really under reported," says Jessica Lind of The Women's Community in Wausau, "It's a growing problem in our community--in all communities--because teens don't tend to recognize what's happening to them is abuse."

Lind says often times, teens in relationships mistake jealously for love.

"I think boys definitely can be jealous. If they have a girlfriend and she talks to another guy, they get jealous," says Wausau West student Keighla Mueller.

Statistics show that 1 in 5 female high school students is abused physically or sexually by a dating partner. Even more troubling is nearly 80 percent of these students will continue to date their abuser.

"People don't really know what to say about it. They don't know how to be confrontational to the people causing it," says Wausau West student Sam Mowrer.

But help is available.

"If a teen finds themself in a teen violence situation, the best thing they can do is tell someone," says Lind.

"They can always talk to a school counselor or a teacher or someone from their church. Or a parent or guardian," says Mueller.

About 10 percent of clients at The Women's Community are teenagers.

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