Teen Dating Violence in the Lake Area

When people think of violence, they oftentimes think it's something that's perpetrated by a stranger. That's not always the case. Date rape, violence and abuse is something that most teen girls, even boys, face everyday.  Most incidents are committed by an acquaintance. In our ongoing Hot Topic series focusing on Teens in the Lake Area, KPLC's Laila Morcos takes a closer look at the problem.

"Jane," now 23, is still dealing with the effects of her teen dating violence experience. "It's not something that goes away. It's something you always think about in the back of your mind."

We've disguised her identity to protect her.  "Jane" now works with domestic abuse victims. "Growing up in Lake Charles, I went to a private high school, and you know, the things I hear about now, I wish I would have known some things when I was younger."

"Eight out of 10 young people are meeting a teen dating violence problem during their younger years," says Calcasieu Women's Shelter Coordinator Ann Coureville.  She's dedicated to educating teens and parents on dating violence and abuse.

"Society is saying it's acceptable." Ann says the warning signs of dating violence are obvious. "The biggest warning sign is when a person wants to take control of your life and they want to say who your friends can be, where you can go."

And no matter how good someone may seem, Ann says looks can be deceiving.  She says, "They're the quarterback or the drum major or may make A's. That doesn't mean they're a good kid."

Girls aren't the only victims. "It's not just girl to boy or boy to girl. It's also same sex."

So the Women's Shelter is hosting a program to give parents and teens the awareness to protect themselves. "Parents need to sit down with their children and come up with a safety plan."

Ann and "Jane" say it's hard sometimes for teens to recognize patterns, but if you're in a situation that doesn't feel good, it's not.

The Calcasieu Women's Shelter Children's Department is hosting a two part program for teens and parents to learn more about date rape, violence and abuse. It's Thursday, February 15th from 6 to 8 PM at the Iowa Public Library. For more information, call 582-3587