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20 Percent Of Marathon Co. High School Students Experience Sexual Or Dating Violence

WAOW Television

Twenty percent of high school students in Marathon County said they've experienced sexual or dating violence according to the 2019 Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

For high school girls in the county, that number jumps to 30 percent. While 11 percent of high school boys said they've experienced sexual or dating violence.

 

Kimberly Pufahl, a Youth Advocate with the Women's Community, said a lot of issues stem from wanting to have power and control.

"Somebody demanding to know where someone is all the time, demanding to control their social media," Pufahl gave as examples of an unhealthy relationship.

And the digital world can increase some of these behaviors because of a constant connectivity.

Pufahl encourages parents to take any dating abuse signs seriously and not just write it off as "teenage behavior."

"It's serious because first of all, it's abuse. And second of all that component that it is going to lead to further abuse down the road or normalize what's not healthy," Pufahl said.

Some signs parents can look out for include teens being withdrawn, not hanging out with their friends as much, being defensive and struggling with depression and anxiety.

As for what a healthy relationship looks like, she said, "You are a whole healthy person and when you're dating someone they're a whole healthy person... the opposite of having power and control issues. We talk about equality and about making shared decisions in a relationship."

If you've experienced dating violence or are worried about a loved one, you can reach out to the Women's Community for support and more resources.

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