February is known as the Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. On Tuesday night, February 21st, a mother of a 14-year-old girl murdered out of jealousy took the stand and spoke about the signs of abusive relationships and domestic violence.
The event was hosted in Duncan by Women’s Haven and multiple speakers took the stand in an effort to raise awareness about abusive relationships, including domestic violence educators and the grieving mother.
Comanche High School students put together a skit to show how an abusive, unhealthy relationship looks. The play opened with a happy couple laughing and ended with the boyfriend becoming increasingly possessive and even abusive. The girl finally realizes the relationship is unhealthy only when the boy gets physical and hurts her and ultimately decides to break up with him.
Even though for the teens watching the skit this was nothing more but a depiction of what could go wrong in a relationship, it was a reality for Angela Wiles’ daughter. At 14-year-old, Alyssa Wiles was fatally stabbed by her ex-boyfriend after she broke up with him. Her mother said at the conference that she didn’t want other families to lose their child to people unable to control their anger.
During the event, Angela spoke multiple times about physical abuse and early signs of unhealthy relationships, as well as highlighted an affectionate relationship has nothing to do with one of the partners exerting power or control over the other. She talked out of personal experience and said Alyssa’s attacker tried to manipulate her little girl, at first. From there to brutally murder her, Angela said there was nothing in between.
Amie Booth, Education Director of Woman’s Haven said people have a tendency to automatically think about adult couples when hearing about abusive relationships. However, she highlighted violent behavior can actually be observed at an early age, usually between the 6th and 12th grade. Furthermore, she said roughly one-third of teens currently in an unhealthy relationship avoid talking to other people about their hardship. The organizers ultimately hope that the event will encourage teens trapped in abusive relationships to speak up and even facilitate communication on a deeper level regarding these issues between parents and teenagers.
Image Source: Flickr