Evelyn Herrera-Jackson, the outreach services director at Help Now in Osceola County, sat down with The Check-In Project Team to discuss teen dating violence awareness.
Help Now is the certified domestic violence abuse center here in Osceola County. They provide basic services, have a 24-hour hotline, a domestic abuse shelter, an outreach office, and a courthouse advocate to provide services.
Domestic abuse and teen dating violence do not discriminate. They can happen to anybody and it's progressive. Some warning signs may be:
Abuse and dating violence become intrusive and it happens subtly. You may not identify it the first time, but if you feel something is wrong, there's a high probability something is wrong.
If you consider someone a friend and they're being disrespected in public or in private or they come to you with observable bruises, then you talk to them. You could say “If somebody is hurting you, I have to tell somebody. I have to get you help. You don't deserve to be hurt.”
It’s important that young people understand that they are entitled to be in a safe school environment, a safe home environment, and that any abuse imposed on them is a crime.
No one knows what's going on in a relationship but those involved. By checking-in with a family member or friend, they will understand that they are not alone. No one wants to be in pain alone, and it shouldn't be a secret.
You have to tell somebody because it's safe to tell.
If you are being harmed and you need to speak to someone, feel free to contact the Help Now Domestic Violence Crisis line, 407-847-8562, or call someone you trust. Confidentiality is very important and is one of the foundations by which Help Now works.
Take the pledge to check-in at TheCheckInProject.org.