High number of US 'tweens' report abuse in relationships

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Washington, Dec 4 (ANI): A disturbingly high number of American teenagers have been through abusive relationships and a 600percent increase in the calls and emails to the National Teen Dating Violence Hotline bears testimony to the fact.

Especially, alarming are the findings of a survey, which reveal that 5 percent of 'tweens' have even experienced physical violence in their romantic relationships.

"In this generation, it's hard to resist violence and it's probably influencing the number of abusive relationships," CBS news quoted Emily Santes, 15, from Rhode Island's South Kingston High School, as saying.

Technology - texting, instant messaging and social networking sites - has become a tool for teenagers to abuse and control their partners.

Sheryl Cates, CEO of the Texas Council of Family Violence, said: "Teens are primarily using technology and that has changed the dynamics in term of the abuse that we're seeing."

Lindsay Ann Burke, 21, started dating Navy seaman Gerardo Martinez in 2003 and much to the surprise of her mum her behaviour started changing after a few months. Lindsay started avoiding company and became increasingly secretive.

Her mum Ann said: "I did go to several counsellors...Not one of them picked up on the warning signs of an abusive relationship."

Finally after two years Lindsay and Martinez broke up. When she went to Martinez's house to collect some of her things he stabbed her to death.

Ann pointed out: "Parents don't realize how much a part of their life their children really are until you lose one of them."

A grief stricken Ann, a health teacher at a Rhode Island middle school, now decided to take up the issue of dating violence with her students.

She said: "I went back to work, looked into the eyes of my 8th grade students and asked myself why is it that I'm teaching them about health disease and substance abuse - but I'm not teaching them about this?"fter two years of constant struggle for legislation on dating violence the Burke family won - the Lindsay Ann Burke Act became legally binding in July 2007.

"I know at that point, Lindsay was looking down and she was smiling," Ann said. (ANI)

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