Dating violence leads to domestic violence cycle - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Dating violence leads to domestic violence cycle

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

South Carolina already ranks top in the nation for the rate of women killed by men.

Experts say domestic violence can be a vicious cycle, but dating violence can have a similar pattern and often gets overlooked. February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Experts say defining healthy relationships early may help stop the cycle of violence.

"We know that it's a huge problem and it's starting -- we're seeing it younger and younger in relationships," said Rebecca Williams-Agee, Associate Director for the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. "In South Carolina, specifically, the Youth Risk Behavior survey, which is the most recent data we have available, estimates about one in 10 young people have experienced physical, emotional, psychological or sexual violence in a dating relationship. So we know that it's happening younger and younger. What we also know about that though is that the younger and the earlier we can intervene, the more likely we are to prevent further acts of violence."

Advocates say teens should speak up and tell an adult or someone they trust if they are in an unhealthy relationship or don't know what one looks like.

The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault is one resource to help.

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