Looking out for signs of Dating Abuse
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - With February being National Teen Dating Violence Awareness month, local advocacy groups across the nation are focusing on spreading awareness on dating abuse. The YWCA of the Mohawk Valley's Community Education Program speaks to schools and companies throughout the year about the warning signs to being in an unhealthy relationship. "We do safety drills we do fire prevention, why aren't we doing prevention on healthy relationships and if our children need help," said Deb Galotti, YWCA Crisis Services Director. Galotti says when stories like Alexandra Kogut's death at the hands of her boyfriend come to light, their requests to speak to groups go up. She says the conversation of dating abuse needs to be open and stay open so victims know where to go and what to do if they see signs, signs that aren't always easy to see. "Like if someone continues to text you wanting to know where you are all the time, or you can't see your friends all the time, they sometimes will see that as love, but that's not love when they start becoming possessive," said Galotti. According to the National Centers for Disease Control, in 1 year, nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from someone they're dating. The YWCA says since it's many of these young adults first experience with relationships, it's vital for them to know what is healthy and what's not. With their curriculum the counselors try and bring information and some alarming facts to the forefront such as that 80 % of teens say they know someone who has been controlled by a partner and 60% percent know someone who has been physically abused. They say the statistics and warning signs hit home for many. "I've gone to a couple colleges, and they have asked what do I do? I know this person, she's got all those signs you're telling us about, what do we do for that person? I feel hopeless and we just tell them don't give up on that person," said Galotti. " Just keep going on, don't get frustrated because it is frustrating, sometimes when you try and tell them to do something but you can't give up on them and just be there for them." If you think something is wrong the YWCA encourages you to call their 24 hour, confidential hotline for help at (315) 797-7740.