Dating Violence On Rise Among Youths

By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email
By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email

HARRISONBURG -- Dating violence is on the rise, based on a new study from the American Psychological Association (ASA). One counselor says she has seen anything from 25 to 30 percent of clients coming to talk to her about relationships.

"I do know people personally who have been in abusive relationships and it did take a toll on me," said Michelle Miller, a grad student at JMU.

Research from the American Psychological Association (APA) shows Miller is not alone.

The study points to 41 percent of girls and 37 percent of boys, who were found to be victims of dating violence.

Of those studied, they ranged from age 14 to 20 years old.

"A 13-year-old for example all of a sudden she comes home. Hides in her room, doesn't want you to see bruises," said Hilary Wing-Richards, a JMU professor and counselor.

She was also a victim of an abusive relationship.

"It took a long time to be able to figure out what truly a healthy relationship was," said Wing-Richards.

She says to avoid dating violence young adults must know the warning signs. Control is one of them.

"I had a young woman in here in the spring semester who said I couldn't see any of my sorority sisters anymore," said Wing-Richards.

Other signs of abuse include yelling, someone telling you that you are fat and hitting.

Wing-Richards says the entire community is responsible for spreading awareness about abusive relationships. She says she's not only seeing dating violence among her heterosexual clients, she's also seeing it among her clients who are in same-sex relationships.

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