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Kim Johnson ReportingA problem has come to our schools, one that's getting worse, and few people want to talk about. Kim Johnson spoke with those who will talk about teen dating violence.
Most of the time victims are women between 16 and 24 years old. They often hide it from everyone, even their parents. Jim Stewart has been counseling with high school students for 26 years. He says he's alarmed by the number of girls getting knocked around by their boyfriends.
Jim Stewart, School Psychologist: "They call it bitch slapping. That's what the kids call it. They say, 'Yeah I got bitch slapped the other night, but it was no big deal.'"
Stewart says violence most often occurs in relationships where high school girls are dating older guys.
Jim Stewart, School Psychologist: "Most of the guys I've talked to that have been that way, they feel remorseful, but they also feel like she deserved it."
Stewart says most girls don't report the abuse or break off the relationship out of fear.
Jim Stewart, School Psychologist: "We don't give kids the skills to deal with it, to recognize it, to say, 'It's okay to walk away. It's okay to report it. It's okay to be a snitch,' or whatever."
The Salt Lake area domestic violence coalition produced a DVD to educate teens. Stewart says the message could not be more timely.
Jim Stewart, School Psychologist: "It's not okay to be beat up. It's not okay to have your boyfriend drag you down the stairs by your hair."
The problem is big enough Sandy police plan to produce another DVD about teen dating violence. They start auditioning actors December 17th.