INDIANAPOLIS — The statistics are harrowing. According to Beacon of Hope Center for Women, located on the west side of the city, one in three teen-agers is currently in an abusive relationship and of those, only 33 percent actually seek help to get away from their situation.
With such a high percentage of teens dealing with such events in their lives, in conjunction with the heightened role social media plays in many domestic violence situations, Beacon of Hope Center for Women has created an outreach program entitled “Teen Talks.” The idea is to help teens, those who interact with them, and even their parents help end the disturbing trend.
BOH notes that 50 percent of 14- to 24-year-olds have been the target of some form of digital abuse and 45 percent of teen girls know someone who has been pressured or forced into having intercourse or oral sex.
BOH is a 501(c)3 non-profit domestic violence support center for victims, that partners with shelters, police, and other agencies to advise and assist those seeking to escape and recover from their situations.
“We feel that there is a great need in the community for an outreach program for teen-agers,” said Judy House, a victims advocate at BOH, noting that most programs focus primarily on education and prevention.
“The program will include helping teens recognize the warning signs of an abusive relationship, ongoing support services so they have some place to go and talk about their situation and cope with it after they’ve left, and how to foster healthy teen relationships or gain information on how to help a friend or family member who’s being abused.”
With February being Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, BOH employees are going into schools in Center Grove, Wayne Township, and Pike Township. They want students to have a peer group where they can come together and talk about abusive relationships they may be in or even their friends or family may be in, where they feel comfortable talking about situations. They plan to speak at all schools in Marion County and surrounding counties.