Alix Channell of BOH, not far removed from being a teenager herself, said social media will be a definite focus of the program as it has become a huge ancillary issue.
“It can start out with those little things, having controls over passwords or who their friends are, and move onto something physical,” she said. “A lot of times the teen-age group gets overlooked because it’s dating and not as serious as people living together or being married.
“I think (social media) has changed everything completely for all teenagers. They can always constantly be in communication with each other. It’s just another way for abusers to have control and keep tabs on them. Sexting has become a huge epidemic. Any channel of communication you can get to the person to control them is a form of jealousy and it has been on the rise because of social media.”
BOH Executive Director Terry Moore said the program has seen a groundswell of popularity since she spoke at the other demographic they aim to hit, beauty colleges.
“I spoke to about 50 to 60 teens and I made an announcement that anyone that is in a domestic violence situation and they’d like to talk to me, I would stay around,” she said. “I ended up staying for over two hours and that’s really scary. We have these audiences where we pull that out and let them know we are here for them. It’s really been eye opening for me.
“It’s difficult for adults to pinpoint where their children are when they’re in a relationship. It can happen with subtle signs where the abuser might not be explosive in their temper but they might say subtle things like they don’t like (the person they’re dating) being around someone, even a family member. Teens don’t recognize this as an abusive sign. They think ‘he cares about me and wants to be around me all the time.’ It’s one thing to educate the teens, but they also need to know where to go. They might not be ready to do anything about their situation, but we can put the bug in their ear that there is a place they can go and people who will talk to them.”