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Amberlina Marie


Because anyone can be Sarah!

Sarah was a sophomore in high school who loves animals, music, and hanging out with her friends. Her boyfriend Tom was senior at her school. Sarah was vibrant, full of life, and caring. Sarah and Tom had been dating for over a year. At first Tom’s demeanor was encouraging and loving. He supported Sarah’s dream of becoming a veterinarian and began to closely monitor her academic progress at school as well as her relationship with her parents. Tom would regularly send Sarah flowers and leave love notes in her locker. Tom’s controlling behavior increased and he began to demand to know Sarah’s whereabouts at all times. He insisted Sarah give him full access to all her social media account passwords and began to monitor her interactions with her friends. He would frequently tell Sarah that all her friends were “fake” and talk negatively about her to her friends. Tom started to display extremely jealous behaviors such as pinching Sarah’s arm if he thought she was looking at another guy and stalking her by driving to her house every night to make sure she was home alone. If he spotted a car near her home he did not recognize he would call her a “slut” and accuse her of cheating on him. Sarah did everything she thought possible to prove her love to Tom and to avoid his angry outbursts, hostility and arguments. Sarah submitted to his demands to send nude photos of herself through Snapchat and gave him access to her social media accounts. Sarah eventually ended the relationship and that was when Tom decided to kidnap her for an entire day. While being held his captive, Tom threatened to kill her and commit suicide if they did not get back together. Sarah was terrified of Tom after the kidnapping incident and obtained an order of protection against him. Sarah then had to transfer out of her school to avoid contact with Tom.


Sarah’s story is no different from what we hear about what many teens experience on a daily bases. This is not an isolated occurrence. One in three teens will experience teen dating violence. Teen dating violence does not discriminate based on age, race, gender, class, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. Victim/ Survivors of teen dating violence could be your sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, cousins, nieces, nephews, and neighbors. Many people might read this narrative and never imagine it could happen to their child. Unfortunately, statistics show otherwise. It could very well happen in your family. Denying the problem will not make it go away. Take stand! 

In 2012 The Healing Center after various conversations with our youth decided to create the NYC Teen Dating Violence Awareness Walk-a-thon to create more awareness and prevent future victims of teen dating violence.


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3 years ago