PARKTON, Md. — It’s a conversation no parent wants to have with their teen child.
Where did those bruises come from, does your boyfriend or girlfriend always talk to you that way?
The sad reality is one in three girls in the United States will be a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner. Lindsay Posner, a junior at Hereford High School, joined the One Love Foundation to curb the alarming trend where it starts.
“Confronting someone in a helpful way, not like “You got yourself into this”. I’m helpful with my friends if I see red flags.”
One Love was founded after Baltimore Native Yeardley Love was beaten to death by her boyfriend. Executive Director Ojeda Hall said it’s important to train young people to take control of their future.
“You may have a boyfriend and they may say send me a picture a sexy photo or whatever. It seems totally harmless but in fact it’s something that can be used to manipulate. Something that can be used to lead you downs a path that you don’t want to go,” said Hall.
Hall said in her household unhealthy relationships just weren’t talked about. She got involved because her cousin was a victim of domestic violence.
“We teach people about what unhealthy relationships look like and what healthy relationships look like,” said Hall. We believe we can change the stats around domestic violence and dating violence and relationship abuse in one generation through them.”
You’d be hard pressed to find a teenager without a cell phone in their hands. That access plays a part in the one in four teens that experience abuse through technology.
“You just see these behaviors and they’ve become so normal that people don’t realize there is something wrong with them,” Hereford High School Junior Megan Sabo said.
The students work hand and hand with House of Ruth Maryland.
Janice Miller, the Director of Programs and Clinical Services for House of Ruth Maryland, said it is important to teach young people about healthy relationships early.
“Maybe when he gets so angry and jealous and smashes a glass or book or puts his hand through a wall that that isn’t actually romantic,” said Miller. “That’s actually borderline abusive.”
The Hereford High School teens have all visited and helped out members of the House of Ruth. Katerina Kremer, a junior, said they take what they learn and share it with their female and male classmates.
“We lead discussions and they actually do get involved and I think that everyone gets a lot out of it,” Kremer said. “They realize the signs to lookout for in relationships because it can happen to either partner.”
Good Morning Maryland's Christian Schaffer will be the emcee.