Resources are available if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship:
— Advocates Crisis Support Services, 970-824-9709
— Live chat at www.loveisrespect... or call 866-331-9474
Craig Boyfriend and girlfriend Skyla Laabs and Thorin Jackson say they have a healthy relationship. But not all teens are as lucky as the Moffat County High School couple.
Laabs and Jackson were among the students who stopped by the Advocates Crisis Support Services table during their lunch hour Wednesday. The occasion was National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and Craig’s Advocates Crisis Support Services set up shop in the high school and middle school to offer some ice cream to go along with important information about health relationships.
Laabs and Jackson, for example, learned about what constitutes abuse in a relationship, took quizzes to see if they were a good girlfriend or boyfriend and if theirs was a healthy relationship. They also learned about where they could go for help if they needed it.
Laabs said she and Jackson have been dating for nearly a year and that things are going well.
“He’s been great,” Laabs said.
Sadly, nearly one in three teenagers across the country report knowing a friend who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked or otherwise physically abused by their boyfriend or girlfriend, according to www.loveisrespect.org, a national teen dating abuse helpline and website.
Still, many teens would probably be surprised to find out the most common forms of abuse in a relationship aren’t physical, but rather mental and verbal.
Bruce Cummings, the men’s director for Advocates Crisis Support Services, said the most common form of abuse in teens is excessively texting the person you’re in a relationship with.
“They’re not aware it’s abusive behavior,” Cummings said. “They’re so used to getting texts from their friends regularly they don’t even think about it.”
Having to know exactly where and who a significant other is with can become a form of controlling abuse, as is trying to control what a person wears, who they see or talk to and how they feel about themselves. Excessive jealousy, unfounded accusations of cheating and going through phones, wallets or purses without the other person’s consent are also signs of abuse in a relationship.
Advocates Crisis Support Services reported a total of 789 new clients in 2012, 562 of whom were adults 18 and older. The remainder were children and teens.
Craig Police Department domestic violence investigator Travis Young was at the Wednesday’s awareness event and said informing kids at a young age is crucial to prevention.
“It’s a problem within our community and our country,” Young said. “Per capita we’re still pretty high in domestic violence cases. If we can get some information out to them early, hopefully they can get out of those abusive relationships or report it to the police or Advocates and get the help they need.”
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org