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1 in 3 teens experience abusive relationships

Counselor, Monretta Vega, tells us, abusive relationships hardly ever start out that way.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. —

According to “Break the Cycle”, a national organization that aims to end dating violence, 1 in 3 teens experience abusive relationships.

Counselor, Monretta Vega, tells us, abusive relationships hardly ever start out that way. She says, “Things were great-- a few months ago. But, now I’m getting hit or I’m being belittled and talked about like I’m worthless.” 

Vega adds, “Sometimes they don’t express their feelings or thoughts the best way. And it can turn into something that’s abusive or violent.” 

And One in ten high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend…. We’re told, teens could be mirroring what they see. 

Vega tells us, “It could be a display of our parents’ relationship. It could be a display of a relationship we see on social media or on TV.” 

RELATED: Increased social media use linked to anxiety and depression in teens

LGBT students are actually more likely to experience physical and psychological dating abuse, sexual coercion, and cyber dating abuse than their heterosexual teens.

And, young women between the ages of 18 - 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, almost double the national average. 

Monretta Vega says parents should open the door to communicate. She says, “You start to just build that little bit of trust. That little bit of ‘back and forth’.”

And, she recognizes with social media and the influence of friends-- many teens feel pressure to have a “picture perfect relationship”. 

Some may not want to talk to parents about dating violence. 

Crisis Services of North Alabama has a free TextLine that teens can use. It’s a fast and anonymous way to deal with high stress situations. 

RELATED: Spotting and avoiding sextortion scams

But, if parents notice any suspicious signs like physical bruising, change in behavior or attitude, they should spark the conversation.. 

Crisis Services of North Alabama “Crisis Text Line” is (256)-722-8219.

If you, or anyone you know is in need of suicide crisis prevention, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1(800)-273-TALK. 

You can also receive local assistance from Crisis Services of North Alabama using their 24/7 HELPline at (256) 716-1000. 

Here’s a list of resources available if you or a loved one is thinking about taking their own life:

Crisis Text Line 24/7 by texting “START” to 741-741.

RELATED: Send a text: Get help from a crisis counselor