first_imgBy WVUA 23 Student Reporter Olivia WhitmireFebruary is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and one Tuscaloosa teen is doing her part to raise awareness to this troubling trend.Laura Grace Henry is Miss Tuscaloosa’s Outstanding Teen 2018 and one of her platforms, Hiding in Plain Sight, helps educate on the warning signs of dating violence and also brings awareness to the issue.One in three teenagers in the United States is a victim of dating violence.“It’s happening younger and younger, kids are dating younger and younger,” Henry said. “It’s becoming an epidemic and it needs to stop.”Henry says education plays a key role in ending abuse, and knowing the warning signs and different types can help that.“Dating violence can be in all different forms; it doesn’t have to be just physical abuse, it can be sexual abuse, there’s even a thing now called cyber abuse and really we just need to tell these girls it’s okay you don’t have to be in a relationship,” Henry said. “You can be you and just live your life, enjoy your childhood, enjoy high school and don’t worry about being in a relationship.”Warning signs of dating violence include physical injuries, an explosive temper in the partner and noticing depression or anxiety in the victim.Henry says an important way to help a child who is dealing with dating violence is asking questions.“Ask open ended questions, such as we know you’ve been unhappy, how can we help?” Henry said. “The victim doesn’t need to feel like they should defend the abuser, so by asking questions like that are gonna lead to a better conversation.”last_img read more