GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — When we think about domestic violence and the people it affects, we don’t often associate it with teenagers.
Research shows about one in three people aged 14 to 20 has been a victim of dating violence. It’s something happening in the Piedmont Triad.
Within the past 10 days, there have been two cases. The most recent happened overnight in Winston-Salem where police said a 20-year-old man forced his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend into a vehicle and kidnapped her.
On Oct. 23 in High Point, police said an 18-year-old man came into the home of a 17-year-old girl he knew, threatened her with a knife and kidnapped her.
“There is an increasing amount of violence, and I think young people are very desensitized to that, and they just don’t think twice about it,” said Hannah Mould, the child trauma specialist coordinator for the Guilford County Family Justice Center. “They think that it’s OK.”
In the past few years, the Guilford County Family Justice Center has seen more people coming through the doors in need of help. More than 12,700 men, women and children were physically, sexually or emotionally abused in Guilford County last year.
“It does not discriminate between socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity,” Mould said. “We have every kind of person coming in the Family Justice Center, young and old, that are experiencing violence and abuse.”
FOX8 talked with advocates working across the Piedmont Triad who said they’re seeing more cases of dating violence.
“It’s scary,” Mould said. “I would hate to be a parent of someone that’s in that kind of situation. I think what we hear from clients at the Family Justice Center is no one expects to be in a situation like that.”
Mould sees the harm as we approach the holidays get more personal. She said knowing what a healthy relationship looks like is the first step in preventing an unhealthy relationship from going too far.
“There should be safety,” she said. “There should be boundaries. There should be respect of one another. There should be an ability to handle conflict in a healthy way.”
Mould said some unhealthy relationship characteristics include possessiveness, control and wanting to spend all your time with your significant other.
If you or someone you know feels they’re in a toxic relationship, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.