Podcast: Download Subscribe: i Tunes | Android | RSS“It’s not an anger problem.If this was an anger issue, all of us would be abusers. Bartos would later find herself at a conference where a teenage girl was the keynote speaker.Mary Dunne has glistening blue eyes and a soft-spoken demeanor.I had the opportunity to visit with her before the presentation. I told her of the girls' journey to college and asked about her work as a teacher.And you’d definitely have zero clue that those flowers were one of his many “I’m sorry” gifts after he berated her for posting a photo he didn’t like online or accused her of cheating.“He loved getting me flowers when he knew he’d been a jerk,” she says now.
Bartos says that can be more harmful because “you turn up a bunch of stuff, then leave, and they (the kids) don’t know what to do.” Instead, the Bloom Crew partners with schools to do student outreach over the course of seven days, and then peer-led awareness groups twice a month, followed by small group sessions to build self esteem and communication skills for healthy relationships once a week for nine weeks. But it’s a very difficult time in young people’s lives, they’re wanting to make their own decisions.”Kennedy said the danger signs include obsessive, controlling behavior.“Your cell phone ringing 15 times a day from calls from the other person saying ‘where are you, what are you doing?’ It becomes stalking, but it’s very hard to convince young people there is a difference between love and stalking.After years of study, advocates have identified warning signs to educate the teenage population on what to look for and what to stay away from.The Family Justice Center, for example, has brochures specific to the teen relationship violence experience, but Kennedy said sometimes it’s hard to get the message through.“We don’t get a lot of teens coming in.Dating in high school can be fun and exciting, but many don’t realize teen relationships can quickly take a turn for the worse and become dangerous and, in some cases, deadly.October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and most think of adult abusive relationship, but teens are the most at risk, according to the Family Justice Center.“Statistically, girls ages 16 to 24 are most likely to be abused in a dating relationship,” said Beverly Kennedy, co-executive director of the center, which provides services to victims of domestic violence in Georgetown County.Ever since my daughters were small, I have inundated them with broadcasts about the perils of life. Don't go to the bathroom alone at a concert and never get in a car with someone you don't know. When I met Mary Dunne, however, I realized that I was merely scratching the surface.Since they could walk and talk, I professed the danger of strangers, and ensured that they looked both ways before crossing. I recently attended an event hosted by The Second Step, an organization near Boston that focuses on helping victims of domestic violence rebuild their lives. Mary became reluctantly famous on July 3, 2011, when her 18-year-old daughter Lauren Astley was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.Supportive-girlfriend status updates about how he’s killing it on the soccer field this year.Photos of a giant bouquet of beautiful roses, with the adoring caption “Isn’t Jacob sweet?As Lauren sang "Breathless" in the background, the audience shivered. By the summer, Lauren was happy and healthy, working at the local mall and preparing for college. She agreed to see him and did so without letting anyone know. A woman's desire to fix things -- from a friend's problems to a loved one's bad day -- is almost instinctual.We'll never know what Lauren was thinking but we can guess.” What you wouldn’t see, however, was the fear in Kaylee’s eyes when Jacob, whom she’d been with for a year at that point, read her texts and raged at her for talking to a male friend.