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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 - See more at: http://www.hopehouseofcolorado.org/index.cfm/id/71/bid/1022#sthash.TUZ92UHo.dpuf

By Lisa Steven, Founder & Executive Director, Hope House of Colorado

*Names have been changed.

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April 2017

Knowledge Share #14: Creating Connections through Children - 04/18/2017


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Knowledge Share #13: Managing Volunteers: Benjamin Franklin had it right! - 03/13/2017


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Knowledge Share #12: Advocacy and Self-Sufficiency: Finding the Balance - 02/14/2017


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Knowledge Share #11: Effective PR and Spot On Communications - 01/18/2017


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Knowledge Share #10: I Walk the Line: Creating Deep Connections While Maintaining Professional Boundaries - 11/15/2016


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Knowledge Share #9: "Fundraising for Non-Profits: An Insider's Perspective" - 09/22/2016


August 2016

Knowledge Share #8: Breaking Out of Poverty - 08/18/2016


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Knowledge Share #7: Creating a Home - 07/11/2016


June 2016

Knowledge Share #6: The Power of Mindset - 06/14/2016


May 2016

Knowledge Share #5: College or Bust! - 05/17/2016


April 2016

Knowledge Share #4:Understanding Addiction - 04/07/2016


March 2016

Knowledge Share #3:Mentoring Empowers Teen Moms - 03/21/2016


February 2016

Knowledge Share #2: Healthy Relationships - 02/11/2016


January 2016

Knowledge Share #1: Brain Development - 01/12/2016


December 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #8: Communicating the Barriers - 12/16/2015


October 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #7: Homelessness - 10/09/2015


July 2015

TEEN MOM BARRIER #6: GENERATIONAL POVERTY - 07/16/2015


June 2015

Teen Mom Barrier Number #5: Domestic Violence - 06/03/2015


May 2015

Teen Mom Barrier # 4 The Challenges of College - 05/12/2015


April 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #3: The Unexpected Bill: Car Repair, Doctor's Visit, Broken Pipe - 04/03/2015


February 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #2: Childcare - 02/18/2015


January 2015

Teen Mom Barrier #1: Society's Negative Expectations - 01/26/2015


December 2014

Teen Mom Misconception #7: Teen Moms Are Completely Self-Absorbed - 12/29/2014


October 2014

Teen Mom Misconception #6: Teen moms drop out of school because they want to - 10/31/2014


September 2014

Teen Mom Misconceptions #5: Success is Impossible - 09/22/2014


July 2014

Misconception #4: Shaming Teen Moms is an Effective Approach - 07/22/2014


June 2014

Misconception #3: Mentoring Teen Moms is Complicated - 06/05/2014


May 2014

Because they want someone to love them? - 05/21/2014


April 2014

Teen Moms - A Persecuted Population? - 04/22/2014


March 2014

Connecting across the Continents: Teen Moms and the People Who Love Them - 03/18/2014


February 2014

Can you break out of poverty with a vocabulary of just 900 words? - 02/17/2014


January 2014

Community - 01/20/2014


December 2013

8 Pennies - 12/18/2013


November 2013

"The most courageous young women I know." - 11/14/2013


September 2013

Our Graduates: In their hands, they hold the future! - 09/30/2013


August 2013

The Cliff Effect and Other Perils on the Journey to Self-Sufficiency - 08/30/2013


July 2013

Breaking the Cycle: Do Poor Teens Have to Become Poor Adults? - 07/30/2013


June 2013

Measuring the Intangible - 06/15/2013


May 2013

Grown-Up Mom - 05/01/2013


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