BLOG: KNOWLEDGE SHARE
Teen Mom Barrier Number #5: Domestic Violence
The jangling phone startled me awake. A glance at the clock told me it was just past midnight. As soon as I recognized the voice of the crying girl on the other end of the line, my heartbeat spiked.
19-year-old Ellie* had recently left her abusive boyfriend and obtained a restraining order, which meant statistically she was likely to experience more, or even elevated, abuse.
In fact, a victim of domestic violence is most vulnerable during the first month after leaving the relationship – 1/3 of domestic violence homicides occur during the first month after obtaining a restraining order.
As I tried to determine if Ellie’s ex-boyfriend was inside the apartment where she lives, I could hear the police arrive, and I began to breathe again. Ellie and her 2-year-old daughter were safe – at least for tonight.
Unfortunately, teen moms are an especially vulnerable group when it comes to domestic violence. According to an NCBI study, mothers under age 20 are two to three times more likely to experience abuse than adult mothers. And it often starts with controlling behaviors.
Ellie’s story serves as a prime example. When she first began dating Jason*, his desire to spend all of his time with her seemed sweet. Soon, however, he began quietly cutting her off from family and friends. As often happens, this behavior soon led to violent expressions of control.
Recognizing that abusive relationships are a reality for many teen moms, Hope House of Colorado offers Healthy Relationship courses that are strategically designed to educate young moms about domestic violence.
As our teen moms work through The Story of Hope curriculum, written by Hope House staff member and state licensed counselor Trisha Daly, they often reference the “Red Flags” lesson as their favorite.
This chapter features the domestic violence wheel, which is an effective way to start the conversation and empower teen moms to be able to identify red flags in current or past relationships. Equipping these young women with knowledge is an excellent first step, but building long-term, stable relationships with healthy adults is just as crucial in preventing further abuse – which is why at Hope House we provide supportive services for up to five years after graduation. Long-term relationships make all the difference.
I am glad to report that Ellie and her daughter have moved into a new home, and Ellie recently applied to a local college. She is also working hard to rebuild healthy community at Hope House after cutting off these relationships while dating Jason.
Our staff members and volunteer mentors encourage Ellie daily, reminding her that she is loved and cherished by them and by God. She is well on her way to overcoming one of the hardest barriers our teen moms face on their journeys toward self-sufficiency – that very dark side road into domestic violence.
By Lisa Steven, Founder & Executive Director, Hope House of Colorado
*Names have been changed.
Knowledge Share #8: Breaking Out of Poverty - 08/18/2016
Knowledge Share #7: Creating a Home - 07/11/2016
Knowledge Share #6: The Power of Mindset - 06/14/2016
Knowledge Share #5: College or Bust! - 05/17/2016
Knowledge Share #4:Understanding Addiction - 04/07/2016
Knowledge Share #3:Mentoring Empowers Teen Moms - 03/21/2016
Knowledge Share #2: Healthy Relationships - 02/11/2016
Knowledge Share #1: Brain Development - 01/12/2016
Teen Mom Barrier #8: Communicating the Barriers - 12/16/2015
Teen Mom Barrier #7: Homelessness - 10/09/2015
TEEN MOM BARRIER #6: GENERATIONAL POVERTY - 07/16/2015
Teen Mom Barrier Number #5: Domestic Violence - 06/03/2015
Teen Mom Barrier # 4 The Challenges of College - 05/12/2015
Teen Mom Barrier #2: Childcare - 02/18/2015
Teen Mom Barrier #1: Society's Negative Expectations - 01/26/2015
Teen Mom Misconceptions #5: Success is Impossible - 09/22/2014
Misconception #3: Mentoring Teen Moms is Complicated - 06/05/2014
Because they want someone to love them? - 05/21/2014
Teen Moms - A Persecuted Population? - 04/22/2014
Community - 01/20/2014
8 Pennies - 12/18/2013
"The most courageous young women I know." - 11/14/2013
Our Graduates: In their hands, they hold the future! - 09/30/2013
Measuring the Intangible - 06/15/2013
Grown-Up Mom - 05/01/2013
Misconception #4: Shaming Teen Moms is an Effective Approach
Eva said: I am so proud of Vanessa good friend of mine and mother. [more]