February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness month. According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, every year approximately 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner.
Meredith Vogel-Thomas with the Morgan County Health Department joined WLDS’ Gary Scott on AM Conversation, and says the Health Department offers services to help make sure you are in a safe relationship.
“We offer teen pregnancy prevention services, as well as family planning services, to all women of childbearing age. Part of the services we offer are to make sure you are in a safe relationship. Teen dating violence, especially for people ages 18-24, is a national health epidemic. One in three persons in that age group experiences a relationship where they may suffer violence at the hands of their partner.”
Vogel-Thomas says there are more types of abuse than just physical.
“It’s important to remember that abuse is not just physical. It can be verbal, it can be emotional, it can be financial. Abuse doesn’t always mean that it is something that is against you. It can be things that are withheld from you. The ability to use your phone when you want to, text your friends.”
Vogel-Thomas explains that abuse is never a part of a healthy relationship
“If you love someone, you don’t abuse them, end of story. If you love someone, and you know they are a victim of abuse, reach out, check and see how they are doing. Don’t give up on those relationships just because people feel isolated. They continue to need you the most.”
To hear the full conversation with Vogel-Thomas click on the newscasts tab.