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Young couples may have difficulty identifying domestic abuse

As Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to a close, many professionals in states like New Jersey are concerned with the attitudes that many in the nation, particularly young people, have about domestic abuse. Many young people fear the idea of divorce, hoping to not seem immature to their family and friends.

But such fear is often quite dangerous, especially when caught in an abusive relationship and young women are at a much higher risk for experiencing abuse. Some statistics show the rate of sexual assault and rape is at its highest in women ages 16 to 24.

Anybody, regardless of age, financial background, education and physical health, can become the victim of verbal or physical abuse in the home. Some young men and women prolong a failing marriage, especially a new one, because they feel like they should have known better or should have been more intelligent. There is often a stigma of embarrassment attached with domestic violence. But remaining in an abusive relationship, even if that abuse is not physical, can do far more harm than good. About one in four women will experience domestic violence during their lives, and about four women are killed by their spouse or significant other every day in the United States.

An expert on safe dating says while our culture seems to be embracing domestic violence more and more, watching it appear in famous movie stars' relationships and then shrugging it off, young couples need to be empowered to seek help if domestic abuse is present in their homes. Proper legal advice and psychological help are vital to emerging from an abusive relationship with hope for a brighter future.

Source: dailyrecord.com, "Combating relationship violence, one conversation at a time," Dari Dyrness-Olsen, Oct. 21, 2011

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