WRAP provides support for teen dating violence

JACKSON, Tenn. — February 1 kicked off Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and a local non-profit organization is reaching out to teens.

Danielle McHaney, Sexual Assault Coordinator for Wo/Men’s Resource and Rape Assistance Program, or WRAP says teen dating violence impacts one in three teens through verbal, physical and emotional abuse in the U.S.

“What we want to spread to our community is that our teenagers do have a safe and confidential place where they can go and receive resources, and we also want to kind of educate on what healthy relationships are,” McHaney said.

And that place is called WRAP.

“WRAP provides an array of services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence in 19 counties in West Tennessee. All the services are free and confidential,” McHaney said. “We have a completely free and confidential hotline that is 24 hours, and you can call at any time and let us know what is going on. We always have an advocate present that would be able to talk to our teenagers.”

McHaney says some of the signs of an unhealthy relationship include controlling and possessive behavior from a partner.

“‘Where is your phone? Let me have your password.’ A lot of times we look at these behaviors and we say, ‘Oh, this person really loves me’ or that is something that jealousy is rewarded, but sometimes it can lead to dangerous behavior if it escalates quickly,” McHaney said.

WRAP representatives say knowing what to look for is key to avoiding dangerous relationships.

“Education around what unhealthy relationships look like, ways to end those unhealthy relationships, if emotional support is needed. We also provide support to parents as well when they don’t know what is going on with their child or help their child that is experiencing some teen dating violence,” McHaney said.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact WRAP at 1-800-273-8712.

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