Young woman in CT shares her survival story during teen dating violence awareness and prevention month – Hartford Courant


Sofia Veronesi said she was just 15 when she later met a slightly older boy who segregated, dominated and assaulted her.

Veronesi said he spent his 16th birthday bleeding from the head after being beaten. She struggled to come out of a severe depression that followed years of emotional and physical abuse, causing her to miss milestones like prom and high school graduation. It seems that

But this Valentine’s Day, a confident and emboldened Veronesi, now 18, stood inside the Connecticut State Capitol to share her survival story, acknowledging February’s designation as president. bottom. National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.

Mary-Jane Foster, President and CEO of Hartford-based interval house — Hosted an event at the Capitol on Tuesday to recognize the moon’s designation — Dedicated to love and romance to remind people across Connecticut that there is “never an excuse for abuse” and to highlight an often-ignored scourge. Dating Violence in Teenage Relationships.

State Rep. Eleni Kavros-Digraw (D-Avon) (left) and State Rep. Nicole Clarides-Ditria (Rep-Derby) show teenage dating violence survivor Sofia Veronesi on Interval We hear her talk on House's

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 12 U.S. high school students have experienced physical or sexual dating violence in 2019. Veronesi was one of many.

For about three years, Veronesi said, she was isolated from her friends and family. She quit the sport, cut ties with her friends and completely lost her sense of independence. Her abusers tracked her whereabouts, monitored her social media interactions, and encouraged her to quit coeducational track and field, she said.

She felt like her life was “finished before it began” after the peak of the pandemic, when she recalled seeing her classmates posing for prom photos and celebrating at graduation parties to return to normalcy. said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, national statistics show a sharp rise in the incidence of domestic violence. Veronesi said her own situation was escalated by the pandemic as she spent time in her quarantine with the person.

“Not being able to go to school and being isolated was definitely a big part of it. I couldn’t go to class or really get away from that person,” she said Tuesday. “It definitely made it worse and really escalated the seriousness of the relationship.”

Eventually, the emotional abuse and control escalated and she was injured and suffered a concussion.

It was a difficult road to leave him after that. But today, Veronesi is working on healing and building her future.

She has started running again, has enrolled in college courses to pursue a career in criminal justice, and plans to attend New Haven University next year.

“We believe that we can take advantage of our worst moments to become our best selves,” she said.

Part of that journey includes sharing her story in hopes of inspiring other survivors and their loved ones to speak up and seek help.

Veronesi, who is surrounded by state leaders and domestic violence advocates, said Tuesday that her story showed other teens they weren’t alone and that parents helped teens. , I hope it helps you understand how to help.

Interval House President and CEO Mary Jane Foster speaks to the media at Interval House's

“I think my parents are a big part of that,” Veronesi said.

“For all parents of teens or soon-to-be-teens, check to see if your child is starting to enter the world of love,” their future is more important than the all-encompassing first young love.

“I wish someone would have opened my eyes,” she said.

At Tuesday’s event at the Capitol, Interval House Board Member Charon Smalls spoke as a school social worker, father and husband about the risks of teen dating violence and the importance of creating safe spaces for children, parents, and parents. , said he wanted to help teach educators.for teenagers.

Providing a place for teens to share their experiences, concerns and questions is crucial to understanding healthy behavior in relationships, he said.

He also hopes that adults will set a good example in teens by instilling self-confidence and self-love, and by making a strong example in the lives of loving and caring men.

House Speaker Matt Ritter joined the advocate on Tuesday, looking at his daughters and wanting them to feel safe talking to themselves and their wives if they have a problem or need guidance. All children and teens have safe adult relationships at home.

That’s where organizations like Interval House and others like it come in.

Given that teenagers have parents who can model healthy relationships or recognize the red flags of abuse, they “ignore life’s complex realities.”

However, there are resources throughout Connecticut that can provide these types of support.

“These agencies can step in and fill the void,” he said.

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Speakers pledged to prioritize support and funding for more than 10 organizations. Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence umbrella.

Earlier this month, President Joseph R. Biden announced issued a proclamation Recognizing February as National Teenage Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, urging Americans to teach their teens about the difference between healthy and unhealthy dating behaviors.

When we teach teens about healthy, non-violent relationships, we support their development and create safer, healthier communities for all. ”

“Young women, transgender teens, and gender nonconforming youth are disproportionately affected by dating violence, which can occur in person, through text messages, or through social media,” Biden said. acknowledged CDC data showing that

According to the CDC, intimate partner violence includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological aggression, and stalking.

Unhealthy and abusive relationships can have short- and long-term effects on a teenager’s development, including depression and anxiety, addictive behaviors, violence, and suicidal ideation.According to the CDC And adolescent relationships also set the stage for future relationships.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, confidential information is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone or email, free of charge. CT Safe Connect 888-774-2900 Hotline or 800-799-7233 National Domestic Violence Hotline.

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