SURVIVOR’S UNITE!

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JOIN ME ALONG WITH OTHER SURVIVORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AS WE COME TOGETHER AND UNITE! SHARING OUR EXPERIENCES, OFFER ADVICE ON THINGS WE HAVE GONE THROUGH AND HOW WE GOT THROUGH THEM, AND EVEN SHARE SOME LAUGHS! THIS IS ALL ABOUT SURVIVORS COMING TOGETHER, TALKING WITH THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND WHAT WE HAVE GONE THROUGH OR WHAT WE ARE NOW GOING THROUGH.

SINCE I STARTED BLOGGING; I MADE SOME AWESOME CONNECTIONS WITH SOME AMAZING PEOPLE. THEY ENCOURAGE AND EMPOWER ME IN WAYS I CANNOT EVEN BEGIN TO PUT IN WORDS. SO I STARTED THINKING HOW AMAZING IT WOULD BE FOR ALL OF US TO GET TOGETHER IN A CHAT FORUM. SO I DECIDED TO CREATE ONE. EVERY TUESDAY EVENING AT 8:00 PM EST. I WILL HOST THIS CHAT. *SURVIVORS UNITE*

YOU WILL BE ABLE TO JOIN IN ON THE CONVO, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO FIND SUPPORT, ADVICE, AND CONNECT WITH THESE AMAZING PEOPLE. I TRULY WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT THEY ARE NOT ALONE AND THAT THEY ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES WHO HAVE HAD TO EXPERIENCE THESE HORRIFIC TRAUMAS. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT THEY HAVE A SHOULDER TO LEAN ON.

HERE IS THE DIRECT LINK TO THE CHAT FORUM: https://tlk.io/alifeworthlivingfor  OR YOU CAN FIND IT ON THE LEFT SIDEBAR ON MY WEBPAGE.

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE! 🙂

Dear Outside World

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Dear Outside World;

Often times, survivors are bombarded with the same repetitive question: Why didn’t you leave sooner? or Why didn’t you leave when he or she hit you the first time?

Let me be very clear, no one stays in a relationship because they enjoy the abuse. Do you want to know why someone stays in an abusive relationship? Mainly, out of fear. Fear for their own lives as well as the lives of their family. Secondly, the abuser has more than likely isolated the victim from their family and friends, therefore; the victim feels that he or she has nowhere to go. A victim of domestic violence doesn’t become a victim when the abuser physically harms them. He or she becomes a victim the moment the abuser starts belittling, calling the victim names, starts to control things like what the victim can and cannot wear, for female victims; they don’t want you to wear makeup or your hair a certain way. The abuser takes control of your money, they determine when and if you can see your family and friends, and then cuts you off from them completely. (All this tends to occur first before the actual physical abuse starts)

You see, when you look from the outside, you CANNOT JUDGE A VICTIM, you have NO RIGHT! You have no knowledge on this subject, I often tell people that someone who has been victimized this way should be connected with a survivor of domestic violence. It doesn’t matter how many years of schooling you had, how many degrees you have on your belt. You still will not have an idea or sense of the emotions that this individual has experienced during the relationship, nor will you fully understand the emotions the individual will feel while going through the aftermath and their healing process. (If you disagree please feel free and comment)

So, why didn’t I leave after the first time my ex actually hit me? Because I was petrified! Because this individual had said he would kill me, because he said I would never make it out without both my legs being broken. I stayed because I was brainwashed into thinking he was all that I had. I stayed because I had no friends, that when I did manage to sneak a phone call into one of them they ignored my calls, or cussed me out. I didn’t even have a chance to tell my friends I needed their help. They had no idea that all this happened until years later! And believe me, those same few friends I have in my life now, I know they regret it terribly. I didn’t leave because I was embarrassed, I was ashamed. My whole mentality on life was so distorted. I felt like I may have done something to deserve it. Or that maybe it actually was my fault.

Do you know what it feels like to have to sneak out of your own house just to spend time with your own mother? To have your mother buy you a cell phone to keep in contact with her and hide it from your abuser? Even with that, have to try and put on a facade in front of her that everything is okay because you do not want her worrying about you? (as if she didn’t know. Mom always knows)  Do you know what it is like to have to lie to the ENTIRE world, when really all you want to do is scream for help? Yet you are in so much fear you somehow manage to paint a smile on your face.

Tell me, Outsider; do you know what it is like to experience all this on a constant basis? 24/7 for however many years, there are no breaks, do you know what good days are like to a victim? Guess what, there are no good days in an abusive relationship; unless you count a good day as not getting choked, slapped, kicked or punched!

There seems to be a huge misconception on victims and survivors of domestic violence from the outside world. I get it, it comes from ignorance. The lack of knowledge that one has towards this issue. Yet, if only you would just listen. DO NOT SPEAK, just LISTEN to what they (we) have to say. Let us explain to you. Do not cut us off while speaking. Do not stop us because it is too much for you to hear. JUST LISTEN, that’s really all we ask for. We pretty much already know that you won’t really get it. What we want, is just for someone to listen. All we ever wanted was for someone to hear us out for once.

You should feel honored if someone wants to tell you their experience(s). That alone is a big deal because what that means is that we found enough trust in you. TRUST, something that very few of us give to ANYBODY! Especially when discussing something so severe.

No one can ever TRUTHFULLY say “I would have left after the first time he or she put their hands on me.” Some of the most strong-willed individuals you know can become victims of domestic violence. You never know what goes on behind closed doors.

There Is A Moment…

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There is a moment that comes for a victim when they just know. They know that it is now or never. They know that this is more than likely the only opportunity they may ever have to escape. There is no time limit. The number of years it took for the victim to leave does not compare to the fact that he or she survived! Because, as a survivor I can tell you, all you want is for the person you originally met to return. You didn’t fall in love with the monster, you fell in love with its disguise. You fell in love with all that charm that was poured on you, the wooing effect. You deny the fact of knowing that the facade you met will never return. During the whole relationship, you try and change yourself, to keep your partner happy. But they are never satisfied. You change, when it isn’t you that needed the change. The abuser, who is so insecure with themselves cannot admit to it, so they put it all on you. It is a way to stroke his or her ego and insecurities.

I wrote several blogs before, about this moment. How something inside of you awakens(I refer to it as a tiger in one blog). All of your senses come back to you. Life returns back to the lifeless body. All the control and power you gave to your abuser seems to get sucked out of them and returns to you. You just know that NOW is the time to go.

For some, it may have been a few years, others ten or more. However, the important thing is that you made it! YOU SURVIVED! You followed your gut instinct, you knew it was at that time that you had to go. You “woke up” from your nightmare. However you planned your escape, whether contacting family, friends or an organization. It was successful. Let me say I am proud of you for making it this far.

This is the moment that you have been waiting for. The moment where you get YOU back. The moment where you get your LIFE back. This is the moment of NEW BEGINNINGS! This moment is the moment of the rest of your life! This is the moment where you will no longer be a victim, but you will become a survivor!

It was a tough journey, an unexpected one that you never thought you would experience. But do not beat yourself up over it. Always remind yourself that none of it was your fault! You NEVER deserved ANY of it!

When you are ready, share your story, use you experience for the good. Help others. Take it from me, this is the best decision I made; sharing my story and experiences, blogging to encourage and empower other survivors is the greatest thing I can ever do. I have found so much happiness in the connections that I have made and continue making. There is nothing better than knowing that you are NOT alone. TRUST ME; YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!!

To those who may currently be in an abusive relationship, you also are not alone. If you would like to reach out (which I hope you do) please go on my “Contact Me’ page, and you can contact me through the outlets there. By whichever form you feel safest. I will always answer and reply as soon as I can, which is typically that same day. You do not have to worry, I am the ONLY person who checks the email, DM’s and private messages and they are all linked to my phone. I urge you to listen to your instinct, it will never steer you wrong. There are tons of outlets that you can turn to as well (many are mentioned throughout my other blogs). Also, your family will be there for you with open arms, I know one of the things an abuser says is that no one loves you like him or her. But they are so wrong! For one family NEVER stops loving you. Secondly, he or she doesn’t love you, because if he or she did love you, they would NEVER do these things to you.

One thing I ask that you always remember; is that you are not to blame! You are not doing anything wrong that allows any of this to happen to you.

You are worth it.

A must read! And check out the book 🙂 I am!

Rosie Malezer

To anybody who is caught inside an abusive relationship, know that your abuser will never change.  Don’t keep telling yourself that they will change or that they will one day wake up and be a better person.  While they may have good days and a good moment here and there, it does not make up for the fact that your abuser belittles you, hits you, threatens you, your life, the lives of the people you love.  You are an amazing person, regardless of whether you know it or not, andYOU DESERVE BETTER than what is happening to you.  Ignore your abuser when they tell you that nobody else would have you.  Only a coward would intentionally set out to hurt you when all you want to do is show them love.  Find a way to get out of your situation.  MAKE A NOISE with your family and police, ensuring that…

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Not Only Is it Possible To Rise, It’s Possible To Fly

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Hi friends. Sorry. This isn’t Shauna. This is her friend, Michelle. You don’t know me, but I know you all, and more importantly, I know Shauna. When I first met her, many years ago, I was fresh out of college, working night shifts in an Emergency Room, answering phones and filing paperwork. It was an eye opening experience. I saw a slice of the world that few have ever seen. I saw people come in that were in pain, were in a panic, were seeking attention, or drugs or worse. I held the hands of people that were losing loved ones, got a fresh cup of coffee for a soon-to-be-widow, wrapped a blanket around a shaking parent that just lost a child. I’ve watched physicians make difficult choices, nurses hold it until they nearly peed themselves, janitors clean more blood than you could imagine was inside a person. To date, this was the best job I ever had.

My guess is that you suspect that Shauna was a patient there, after a horrible night of violence and abuse. You’d be mistaken. She and I shared a desk, a little spot of peace in a sea of uncertainty. In the time I knew her, she was unwaveringly kind, poised, but mostly quiet. In the way I know her now, it’s so weird to call her quiet. You couldn’t swear in front of her, which was a big fucking problem for me. She didn’t drink, which I just couldn’t possibly fathom. People would ask her personal questions about her life, and I would hear her shut them down. “How are your roommates?” “Seeing anyone?” “What did you do this weekend?” were all considered personal questions. I quickly learned that she didn’t want to talk about her life, and I was okay with that. Most of our interactions consisted of making fun of our coworkers, or talking about what weird meal I had made myself for dinner. There was a lot of food and real estate porn. Shauna helped me internet shop for the condo I eventually bought, talked me through the petty arguments I had with my then boyfriend, and let me complain about my mother. I think truly our friendship began from a mutual love of Pitbulls.

In the time we worked together, Shauna’s mother became very ill. She lived in the city, but my home was in the neighboring suburb. Like any sensible city girl, she didn’t have a car, so I offered to drive her there. With the kindness she had shown me, it was a no-brainer.

Through bits and pieces of the conversations we had, I began to put together a concerning image of her life. Here she had this mother that she loved dearly and loved her the same in return, but Shauna was living with people that controlled her life. I was sad for her, and I felt so helpless to make it any better. I just promised I would drive her to her mom whenever she wanted, even though one time I left her on the side of the highway to be picked up by Mom because I was going to miss an exam.

When I left that job, Shauna was one of the very few people with whom I kept in touch. It was probably two years before we saw each other again. When we got together, she was this entirely different person. The first thing she said to me was “Let’s get a fucking drink”.

We went out to a bar, a place I couldn’t have pictured her in a thousand years. She told me about the amazing man that she was dating, the scum bags she had dated and the good news that she had moved back home with Mom. That was probably my favorite part.

It was like I was meeting someone entirely new, but had known my life for years. At the first opportunity, I had her over to the condo she and I drooled over at 3 AM nightly after I made an offer on it. She met my husband I had squabbled with when we were dating, and kissed the Pitbull we adopted shortly after I was married. Shauna became a weekly fixture at my house, sometimes helping me, posing as a fake client, other times just to drink and laugh. Eventually, after too many glasses of wine, Shauna told me the story of her survivorship. I remember sitting there with my hand over my mouth the entire way through. I couldn’t believe someone I had loved so dearly lived through such hell. She seemed so nervous to tell me about her life, but she was so brave through it. She didn’t stop. It was like one breathless story, breathless for both of us, though I was silent. There were hugs. There were tears.

The next time we got together, we were drinking wine. We drank some more, and I told her how her story had taken root in my bones. I told her that her life, her story was too important not to share, that there was so much wealth and power in her experience, and that by holding it in, she was depriving the world and a desperate community of a truth for which they so yearned. We drank some more, and we started talking about what mediums it would be most appropriate to discuss, and I recommended blogging. We drank some more, and she wrote her first blog. She was nice enough to let me edit it, but truthfully, I just put in the details she was reluctant to write down. It has made me so proud to see how successful this blog has become, especially as I have had nothing to do with its content since the first few times she asked me to check out what she wrote.

Today, we were texting, and she was so sweet and thanked me for her success here. I told her, “I pushed you off a cliff. You learned how to fly.” This evening, she asked me for the first time in months to check out her blog post, and it was about what I had said to her this morning, about her flying. I was so flattered, but I thought how unfair it was to you, her readers, not to know the full story came to be. It’s once again that unwavering kindness of Shauna that forces her to want to credit those who help her with success. It felt as if she wanted to give me every word she had written, which I couldn’t edit. I see how much power and strength she has found in telling her story. I am so lucky to have witnessed this phoenix rise from her ashes. In closing, I want to leave her with the essence of the post she wanted to share with you all:

Not only is it possible to rise, it’s possible to fly.

PhoenixRising

 

 

Hey friends, Shauna here, The above context from my friend Michelle, literally brought tears to my eyes, when I write I always originally write in google docs, that way if I need Michelle we can both do edits from our own homes if need be, when I asked her for help tonight she had no problem doing so, then she had told me she was “working on something don’t look.” So I didn’t, but kept messaging her on Facebook asking if I could.  Haha.

Below, is the context I had asked her to help me with – Aspire to Inspire Before You Expire.

While looking for a great definition on “aspire to Inspire before you Expire” I found this: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Aspire_to_Inspire_Before_You_Expire.html

“So in summing up the meaning of the phrase aspire to inspire before you expire, it simply says to have the desire to arouse and positively influence an individual into action so that they fulfill their innermost desires before they die and leave this planet. And it also applies to you – allowing inspiration to flow through you so that you too experience an inspired life. As always, the choice is yours! Be the inspiration!”

Earlier today, I was talking to my dear friend who is the one who got to me to finally start blogging back in September of 2015. She encourages me more than she knows. I had once again thanked her for doing so and her response was epic! “Hahaha, no I pushed you off a cliff, you learned to fly!”

I had been wanting to share my story of survivorship, as well as empower and inspire others, reach out to victims and give them hope for their future. I just could not take that first step. She told me that my life, my story was too important not to share, that there was so much wealth and power in my experience, and that by holding it in, I was depriving the world and a desperate community of a truth for which they so needed. She literally gave me the push I needed to turn my dreams into reality.

Aspire means to yearn for, have a strong desire for or to have hope.

Personally, my desire, my hopes, and my dreams are to help victims and survivors of domestic violence. That through writing and maybe one day even speaking to others, that I can empower and  inspire other survivors to share their stories as well. That if we inspire one another than we can truly break the silence. That if we all take a stand, that if we all do something with our own experiences that we CAN stop domestic violence. If we can ensure that schools are really teaching our teenagers about teen dating violence, if we can reach these younger generations then there can be an end to domestic violence.

I have always said, if I can make a difference in just ONE person’s life, then I have been successful!

What are your aspirations? What inspires you? What do you desire and hope to accomplish while you are still here?

 

Photo Credit: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwitm8rpk_HKAhUFdD4KHWhGDloQjB0IBg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.30bananasaday.com%2Fprofiles%2Fblogs%2Fphoenix-rising&psig=AFQjCNHkh61DI4vyKBCu3IjADbFP5H9_mw&ust=1455329687996530

 

Join In On The Convo

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Teen dating violence is a serious issue, did you know that close to 1.5 million high school students are victims of physical violence for a dating partner each year? Join me and others as we discuss the issue.

direct link: https:tlk.io/alifeworthlivingfor

or you can find it on my webpage on the left sidebar.

 

Let’s Talk About Teen Dating Violence

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This coming Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 @ 7pm EST. Let’s talk about teen dating violence! We all know how serious this issue is, so let’s talk about it! If we want to end domestic violence we need to reach out to the younger generations!

The direct link to the chat is: https://tlk.io/alifeworthlivingfor

Or you can find the chat on the left sidebar on my page.

Please comment below, or DM me on twitter to let me know if you will be joining in on the conversation.

Are You Aware of the Red Flags?

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What are red flags? Red flags are warning signs that something or someone isn’t right. When it comes to domestic violence it is important for everyone to be aware of the red flags, and know how to get out before it is too late. The thing is, is that many men and women become blindsided and never see the warning signs, they never see the red flag waving in front of the abusers face.

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How does someone become blindsided? They woo you, they charm you, and say all the things you want to hear, they buy you “just because” gifts. etc.

Are you aware of the red flags? Do you know what the red flags are? While reading, ask yourself if you see any of these warnings. Do you see these red flags in a family member or a friends relationship?
The information below is found on http://www.caring-unlimited.org/.

 

Red Flags to Consider When Beginning a New Relationship

The following is a list of red flags for you to notice and pay attention to when dating someone or beginning a new relationship. Some of them are indicators that the relationship may become abusive. Others are positive indicators that you are becoming involved with an abuser. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you are dating an abuser.

Quick Involvement

  • 6 months or less before living together/engaged
  • Claims of love at first sight
  • Says you are the only one who can make him/her feel this way
  • Pressures you for commitment

Unrealistic Expectations

  • Compliments you in a way that makes you seem superhuman
  • Very dependent on you for all needs
  • Expects you to be perfect
  • Says things like, I am all you need. You are all I need

Controlling Behavior

  • Advises you how to dress without your asking for advice
  • Pretends to be concerned for your safety or your productive use of time
  • Acts like you do not have the ability to make good decisions
  • Becomes extremely worried or angry when you are late
  • Constantly questions who you spend your time with, what you did/wore/said & where you went
  • Insists that you check in constantly
  • Monitors your phone/email
  • Makes you ask permission to do certain things

Jealousy

  • Wants to be with you constantly
  • Accuses you of cheating all the time
  • Follows you around or frequently calls during the day
  • Odd behaviors like checking your car mileage or asking friends to check in on you

Isolation

  • Tries to cut off all your resources
  • Puts down everyone you know: says friends are stupid, promiscuous, or accuses you of cheating with them; says family is too controlling, they don’t really love you, or you are too dependent on them
  • Refuses to let you use car or talk on the phone
  • Makes it difficult for you to go to school or work

Blames Others for Problems

  • If there are problems at school or work, it is always someone else’s fault
  • You’re at fault for everything that goes wrong in the relationship

Blames Others for Feelings

  • Makes you responsible for how they feel:
  • You made me mad.
  • You’re hurting me by not doing what I ask.
  • I can’t help being angry.
  • You make me happy.
  • You control how I feel.

Hypersensitivity

  • Easily insulted
  • Sees everything as a personal attack
  • Has a tantrum about the injustice of things that happen to him
  • Totally goes off about small irritations
  • Looks for fights
  • Blows things out of proportion

Disrespectful or Cruel to Others

  • Punishes animals/children cruelly
  • Insensitive to pain and suffering
  • High expectations of children beyond their abilities
  • Teases children or younger sibling(s) until they cry
  • Doesn’t treat other people with respect

Expects Control During Sex

  • Little concern over whether you want sex or not, & uses sulking or anger to manipulate you into compliance
  • Makes sexual or degrading jokes about you

Rigid Sex Roles

  • Believes women are inferior to men
  • Unable to be a whole person without a relationship

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

  • Sudden mood changes–like the person has two different personalities
  • One minute nice/next minute exploding
  • One minute happy/next minute sad

Past Battering

  • You may hear the person was abusive to someone else they were in a relationship with, they may deny it saying it is a lie or their ex is crazy/it wasn’t that bad

Breaking or Striking Objects

  • Used as punishment
  • Breaks cherished possessions
  • May beat on tables with fist
  • Throws objects at/around/or near you

Any Force during an Argument

  • Physically restrains you from leaving the room
  • Pushes or shoves you

 

For information on how to get help or how to help someone else, click here.

Teen Dating Violence

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February is T.D.V.A.M. (Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month), at the age of seventeen, I myself was in a violent relationship which I have previously posted (See Blog Here). While researching some stats, the numbers actually shocked me.

Loveisrespect.org lists the following stats:

  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
  • 1 in 3 adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
  • 1 in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

The website also gives very good reason and stats as to why we need to focus on young people:

  • Girls and young women between ages sixteen and twenty-four experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence (that is almost triple the national average)
  • Among female victims of intimate partner violence, 94% of those age 16-19 and 70% of those age 20-24 were victimized by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Violent behavior typically begins between the ages of twelve and eighteen.
  • The severity of intimate partner violence is often greater in cases where the pattern of abuse was established in adolescence.

As for college students:

  • Nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors.
  • College students are not equipped to deal with dating abuse – 57% say it is difficult to identify and 58% say they don’t know how to help someone who’s experiencing it.
  • 1 in 3 (36%) dating college students has given a dating partner their computer, email or social network passwords and these students are more likely to experience digital dating abuse.
  • 1 in 6 (16%) college women has been sexually abused in a dating relationship.

The long-lasting effects:

  • Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.
  • Being physically or sexually abused makes teen girls six times more likely to become pregnant and twice as likely to get an STI.
  • Half of youth who have been victims of both dating violence and rate attempt suicide, compared to 12.5% of non-abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys.

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Just by looking at the above stats from loveisrespect.org teen dating violence is far more common than people think or even realize. Why is that? It is due to lack of awareness, the subject of domestic violence as a whole shows that there needs to be more awareness on the issue. Therefore, there needs to be more awareness brought to teen dating violence as well.

Don’t ever think that your teens are too young to talk about domestic violence. If they are old enough to understand right from wrong, then they are surely old enough to discuss domestic violence. The problem with this though is the lack of awareness from parents.

  • Only 33% of teens who were in violent relationships ever told anyone about the abuse.
  • 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.
  • Even though 82% of parents feel confident that they could recognize the signs if their child was experiencing dating abuse, a majority of parents (58%) could not correctly identify all the warning signs of abuse.

So what can be done to change this? Yes, posting blogs can help bring awareness to the issues, but more has to be done. Maybe there can be classes held at schools for parents? Maybe pamphlets and information about teen dating violence can me mailed to students houses; information and stats on the issue, as well as some pointers on how the parents can talk to their teens about dating violence. One thing is for sure, more knowledge on this issue is absolutely needed. 

Below I posted a few videos I found on Youtube.  Knowledge is POWER!