Local student kicks off teen violence awareness month

Student kicks off Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

EVANS, GA (WFXG) - On Saturday, Kayla Parks teamed up with Safe Homes of Augusta to teach self-defense techniques to local women. She said she wants to help girls her age get out of abusive relationships.

"I wanted to hold a self defense class because I researched domestic violence, I'm at the age now where I'm dating and I wanted to be aware of how to take care of situations if I feel like I'm being abused or violated in any kind of way," Parks said.

Christina Williams, Children's Coordinator at SafeHomes of Augusta, said teen dating violence is more prevalent than most people think.

According to her, one in three teens experiences dating violence.

"It's amazing how people associate being attacked by people who they don't know, but in dating violence you're attacked by someone you do know," Williams told WFXG.

Williams said they're not only at risk of physical violence. Many teens are subject of mental and sexual abuse.

"We might not be able to affect all the teenagers here in Augusta but maybe we'll give one the encourage to leave to have a safety option to possible leave," said Williams.

Even though it's the shortest month of the year, Parks and Williams hope that 28 days is enough for them to make a difference in the lives of every teen in the area.

"If you feel like you're being abused don't be quiet about it," said Parks.

"The most important thing is to talk about it. Hiding it probably only makes it worse we're here at safe homes to provide that one on one time," Williams said.

Augusta Safe Homes is holding events and information sessions about teen dating violence all month long. Call Safe Homes of Augusta at (706) 564-2718 for more information.