Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Parent to Parent: Teen Dating Violence
It may surprise you to hear that half of all teenage relationships are abusive but the experts say that abuse comes in many forms. So what do parents need to know? One survivor shares her story and Dr. Valerie has advice in today's Parent to Parent.
WSVN -- Lauren Pilnick was 16 when she found herself in the middle of an abusive relationship.
Lauren Pilnick: "I found myself saying sorry a lot, apologized several times a day every day, and almost never did I do anything wrong."
Lauren says as time went on, her boyfriend tried to isolate her from family and friends, especially on prom night.
Lauren Pilnick: "He said he didn't want to go in the limo with my friends, they weren't cool enough, he didn't approve, they weren't good looking enough."
She says he never hit her but would sometimes hold his hand to her throat.
Lauren Pilnick: "It just sends such a clear message, look how much power I have with this one hand, how bad I can hurt you if I just choose to push a little bit harder."
Experts say there doesn't have to be physical violence for there to be abuse.
Laura Finley: "We know all forms of abuse are ultimately about control, and, so clearly what we have is one party trying to control the other party."
Seven's Parenting Expert Dr. Valerie Goode says parents need to know the warning signs. If your child has physical signs of abuse, if their grades suddenly drop or they seem depressed or if they're no longer spending time with family and friends.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "Your child needs to be aware of this. That if somebody loves you, they will want whatever it is you want for yourself and they should be OK."
Laura Finley of Women in Distress says the problem is most teens don't even realize they are being abused. They think jealousy means their boyfriend loves them.
Laura Finley: "They mistake these signs of control as love, love and affection and attention that they want as a good thing, until they get further into the relationship and the abuse has escalated."
When Lauren went away to college, she knew it was her chance to break free.
Lauren Pilnick: "I believe if I had stayed in the relationship, I ultimately would have been beaten and probably killed."
Now she dedicates her life to educating others about violence against all women.
Lauren Pilnick: "It is possible to break that cycle and I'm living proof that. It's possible to be a survivor and not just a victim."
Lynn Martinez: "Dr. Valerie says if your child tells you they're being abused, hear them out and be supportive. There is help available."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Women in Distress of Broward County, Inc.