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Survivors of teen dating violence speak up

ALPENA, Mich. — Teen dating violence has become an epidemic.  According to Hope Shores Alliance Director Jillian Ferguson, one in three teens will experience physical or sexual violence at the hands of a partner.  Outreach and Services Advocate, Sierria Connon, said power and control serve as warning signs.

Teen dating violence survivor Jossalyn Bourdony said she was 18 and in her first year of college when she met her abuser.  She dealt with her pain by using drugs and heavy drinking.  Bourdony said her relationship with her abuser ended when physical abuse landed her in the hospital and her grandmother came to her aid.

Ferguson said there is a pattern of coercive, manipulative, and dangerous behaviors that abusers use to establish power and control.

Survivor Michel Dasilva has a different story as her abuser is her son’s father.  She said her abuse began when she was just 16.  Dasilva feels her abuser took advantage of her situation making her feel trapped.

Bourdony, now 25, is still working through her past and continues to seek therapy.

Dasilva said she has been abuse free for about eight years and encourages other teens to seek help in their local area.

If you are experiencing teen dating violence or know of someone who is, you can contact Hope Shores Alliance at 800–396–9129