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Brownwood organization raises awareness during National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

Published On: Feb 18 2014 06:15:39 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 18 2014 10:19:15 PM CST

The Ark Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Shelter in Brownwood aims to serve victims who have experienced such situations and all kinds of abuse. Advocates there also help clients deal with stalkers.

One of the Ark's client advocates, Kenan Boland, said teen dating violence is becoming a bigger problem across the country because of today's technology.

"Because of cell phones, because of Facebook, because of social media, there's more opportunity for there to be problems," said Boland. 

She said it's hard to get teenagers to report that they're in abusive relationships because they're either afraid or unaware.

Some signs of non-physical abusive relationships include constant text messages, constantly checking on a partner's whereabouts, and forcing a partner to share passwords to all accounts. 

"Anytime someone is trying to maintain control and power over another is also considered as abuse," said Boland. "The best way to reduce teen dating violence is to get the word out there that every person, everybody, deserves respect in any form of relationship, whether it be a romantic relationship or with your friends. When you're in a healthy relationship full of respect there is no need for power."

The Ark serves people of all ages, races and genders. It is open 24/7 and is free. It serves an average of about 200 people a year. It serves Brown, Coleman and Comanche counties. For more information, you can call (325) 643-2699 or (325) 641-2971 or visit www.arkshelter.org.