1 in 3 girls will be in an emotionally, verbally, or physically abusive relationship between the ages of 16-24.
Twenty-nine percent of girls who have been in a relationship said they’d been pressured to have sex or to engage in sexual activity when they didn’t want to do so.
I was one of those girls.
From the age of 16 - 19, Dee Dee was in an abusive dating relationship - verbally, emotionally, physically, and sexually. Thankfully she eventually found the strength and courage to break free from the relationship but was held captive by the pain, hurt, anger, isolation, fear, shame, and guilt of that experience well into adulthood.
It was only after fully accepting God's grace, mercy, and forgiveness that she finally healed. As she healed, she felt God lead her to write a book about the experience, and facts to help others recognize the signs, understand abusive relationships, and hopefully save someone else from enduring one. As Dee Dee researched for the book, she discovered that our children are at risk of succumbing to various risky behaviors, including drinking, drugs, sexual activity, eating disorders, and unhealthy or abusive dating relationships.
As she learned more, she felt God leading her to start a prevention program to protect youth from risky behaviors but she wasn't sure how. God showed her the way, and for seven years, Dee Dee and several volunteers, mentored youth, engaging them to learn about healthy character traits and to be aware of risks associated with what many deem “normal” teenage activity. They also created opportunities for teens to help youth and families in their community. It was an honor to watch God at work in the faces of these youth, the students, and the families they touch. Dee Dee and the volunteers were constantly in awe.
Due to Covid, they ran into many obstacles, causing them to discontinue PIC activities and reevaluate God’s next plan for PIC. The book Dee Dee had started was still a rough draft, and over the years, she'd felt God whisper, “What about the book?” So, she got back to the work of writing her experience as a teenager and researching to help others avoid or identify unhealthy or abusive relationships, seek and build healthy, positive relationships, and if in an abusive relationship, have the tools to leave and heal from it. In September 2022, the book It Doesn’t Start with a Punch: My Journey through an Abusive Teen Dating Relationship was published.
PIC now shares the information at churches, schools, and organizations to help parents, teachers, youth directors, and any adult who can help a child recognize the warning signs and learn how they can help.
It’s often called a dark topic, but we believe that by shining a light into the dark, Christ’s love can overcome it, and others will be able to avoid these harmful relationships.
Dee Dee and licensed counselors are available to speak at schools, churches, businesses, and other organizations or groups to help raise awareness and protect our youth.
Send us a message and we’ll get back to you soon.