Durant students spread awareness of teen dating abuse - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Durant students spread awareness of teen dating abuse

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DURANT -- Valentine's Day is tomorrow so love is in the air.

But, today, some students in Texoma delivered a message about what love should mean.

They're trying to raise awareness about dating abuse.

The Centers for Disease Control says 20% of female adult domestic violence victims first experienced the abuse between the ages of 11 and 17.

This month, a group of Durant students are trying to put an end to unhealthy relationships that can start early but last a lifetime.

Many aren't of legal age to drive.

But at Durant high school, a mature message is hitting home.

"We're trying to make students aware of what an ideal relationship should like and what the red flags they should watch out for," student Kaley Green said.

During lunch break Thursday, more than 100 students signed a banner that read "love is not abuse," signifying their pledge to healthy dating.

They were also handed information about teen dating violence, a nationwide problem school councilors say doesn't seem to be improving.

"I'm dealing with 9th graders and there's probably a 9th grader in here a week that has some kind of warning sign that they didn't even really know is an unhealthy relationship," academic advisor Sara Carpenter said.

Thursday, Mayor Jerry Tomlinson also officially proclaimed February "Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month" in Durant.

Tascha Bond is a teacher at Durant High School and a survivor of domestic violence.

She says an abusive relationship can be physical, sexual, or psychological.

Warning signs include isolation and jealously but she says the abuse doesn't always happen face-to-face.

"If your boyfriend or girlfriend texts you 40 times a day to want to know where you're at and what you're doing and to follow up with you, that is not a healthy relationship," Bond said.

DECA and marketing students at Durant High put together the event.

They've also added a social media element their campaign and are asking anyone who wants to support them on social media this month on social media to use the hashtag, #NoExcuseforDatingAbuse.