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One in ten teens experience abuse from partner

Posted: 10:39 PM, Feb 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-02-10 05:39:02Z

Can you imagine going on a date and your boyfriend or girlfriend smacks you? Experts say its a common thing and can start at a young age. To bring awareness to the issue the Women's and Children Alliance is spearheading a campaign featuring young woman like Kelby Shields. 

After being beaten for years as a teen  Shields had one question on her mind.

"Do I leave or do I stay," said Shields.

Shields story began like this.

"I was a freshman in high school. He was two years older than me, and I thought I was popular," Shields explained.

Then things with her boyfriend took a turn. 

"Before long he was letting me know who I can and cannot hang out with, He would call me names. It wasn't until I graduated high school and I moved in with him that things got physical," Shields added.

She didn't know where to turn. She was ashamed and said people thought the abuse was in her head. So she stayed in the relationship for about six years until one night she said he embarrassed her in front of her friend. 

"He grabbed me picked me up and threw me against the wall and then threw me on the couch and continued to yell at me and at that point I was done. Someone else has seen this, and it's not just in my head," said Shields.

She packed up her bags and headed out West to Boise. 

Now she has a message she wants to share. 

"Healthy relationships need to be discussed in middle school, and it needs to start now," said Shields.

February is teen violence awareness month. One in three teens will experience physical, sexual or emotional violence by their significant other. The Women's and Children's Alliance said one way to break the cycle is for parents to sit down with their kids. 

"Talk about what healthy relationships and boundaries are and express concerns and maybe relate it too how would you feel if your friends were treated like that and how do you want to treat other people,"  said Chris Campbell Davis, Communication Manager with The Women's and Children Alliance.

Davis said this is important.

"A lot of young adults may not recognize that in fact that this relationship is abusive," said Davis.

Shields agrees and said warnings might not be so clear. She said if you feel uncomfortable if someone puts you down or raises their voice these could be early warning signs. Both women said education is the only way to break the cycle of abuse.