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Parents Urged To Look Dating Danger Signs

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UPDATED: Friday November 15, 2013 6:38 PM

The facts behind teen dating violence are startling.

According to experts, one in three girls will experience some form of intimate partner abuse by the time they complete high school.

Over 40,000 teenage girls in Ohio are victimized every year in intimate dating relationships.

"I think one of the biggest things that parents miss is what we call puppy love," says Lisa Carroll with Jewish Family Services of Columbus, Ohio. "That's the cycle of abuse where the boyfriend or girlfriend is trying to make up and bring candy and flowers and we feel flattered that our daughters or sons are being treated this way, and actually that is the cycle.”

Jewish Family Services offers many programs to help teenagers learn how to respect each other and empower young girls to find value in themselves.

It's helped countless teens, including a 17-year-old girl who wanted to stay anonymous.

"It was confusing," she told 10TV's Angela An in an interview from her central Ohio home.

"One minute he was yelling at me, saying mean things and the next-- apologizing and wanting to fix it... Really confusing," she adds.

The teen says the cycle of violence started when she was 14, and the two had just started dating.

The mental abuse continued for two years until one day it turned physical.

"I always had a feeling that it wasn't ok to be in that situation but then again, my mind went back to - oh I love him, it's going to get better," she recalls. "It's going to stop, but it never did."

The teen -- who is now thriving after escaping the abusive relationship about a year ago-- says there were plenty of warning signs that she ignored.

"I just felt alone, I didn't really think, um, others were there to help, that didn't even cross my mind that other people would care if I told somebody," said the teen, who also says she suffered mental abuse when the abuse started hitting social media with attacks against her and her family.

Carroll says to change the dating danger cycle begins with educating parents, teens, and schools on empowering teens to value themselves at an earlier age.

"Every girl is special, every girl has a voice, every girl can make a difference and we want girls to embrace those core values and what a healthy relationship looks like and not let go of those, " said Carroll. "We want them to believe that they are deserving, that they deserve trust and respect and good communication."

Our teen says she hopes her story will help other teens who might feel "stuck" in a relationship now.

"If there is ever a sign that they may be turning abusive, then get out, immediately," she says.

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