YWCA working to raise awareness about violence in teen relationships

YWCA working to raise awareness about violence in teen relationships

A local organization wants to make parents aware of a growing problem putting teens in danger.

The YWCA says a large number of teens are finding themselves in abusive relationships and no one is talking about it. In fact, it says one-in-three teens will experience dating violence.

“Here in Spokane, I don’t have the exact number, but it is something that I see daily with the youth that I work with in the office and out in the community,” said Jessi Taylor, a youth advocate with the YWCA.

And she says many parents are completely unaware of the issue.

“81 percent of parents who have been surveyed before either don’t believe it’s an issue, or they don’t know that it is one,” she said.

Taylor is now on a mission to educate the community about this issue. She says we focus on gun violence and bullying, but dating violence is a huge threat to young people.

So, the YWCA is reaching out to teens, asking them to share their stories about abusive relationships.

“We want to be able to get their voices heard, because this is not just a teen issue, but a community issue,” Taylor said.

They’ve started contacting schools to try and change the way we teach students about what a relationship looks like.

“Trying to get more curriculum into schools and groups about what dating violence looks like and how teenagers can have healthy relationships,” said Taylor.

And Taylor says that education is key.

“There’s not enough education or awareness around what healthy relationships look like. And so they don’t know,” she said.

The YWCA does provide resources for teens in need, or who are in abusive relationships and don’t know where to go. You can reach out to Spokane’s 24-hour helpline 509-326-2255 or by email at help@ywcaspokane.org.

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