Recent headlines about 22 year-old domestic violence victim, Clara Lee Riddles, (read full story on CNN.com) have sparked a call for action against abusive relationships.
According to accounts from close friends, Clara repeatedly told them she was being stalked and abused by her ex-boyfriend. In 2005, a TRU report indicated that 78% of young women experiencing violence in a relationship reach out to their friends first. Break the Cycle educates young people and those closest to them so they are better equipped to help a friend or family member in need.
Last year, in addition to the tens of thousands of youth who benefited from our prevention programs, Break the Cycle trained more than 2,000 first-responders—parents, teachers, social workers, doctors and other adults who interact closely with youth—to recognize certain behaviors as warning signs that a young person is in an abusive relationship. We aim to ensure that adults are able to respond sensitively and confidently to the unique needs of teens experiencing abuse.
If you are concerned about a young person you know, Break the Cycle’s thesafespace.org provides information and tips. Here are a few:
- Do not be afraid to tell them you are concerned for their safety and want to help.
- Acknowledge and validate their feelings about their relationship.
- Help them recognize that the abuse is not “normal” and it is not their fault.
- Reassure them that everyone deserves a healthy, non-violent relationship.
- Be supportive and listen patiently.
- Be respectful of their decisions.