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News Release

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit clinic providing health and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, wants to promote abuse prevention and resources for those in need during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is observed every February to bring awareness to the prevalence of dating abuse among teens. According to Love Is Respect, one in three teens in the United States will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse from someone they’re in a relationship with before adulthood.

“Unhealthy relationships can have severe consequences on the mental health of a developing teen,” said Misty Gillespie, OKCIC’s Director of Behavioral Health. “Teens experiencing dating violence are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, and engage in substance abuse.”

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell when a relationship is abusive. Some warning signs include checking your phone without permission, putting you down frequently, isolating you from family or friends, extreme jealousy or insecurity, explosive outbursts, any form of physical harm, possessiveness or controlling behavior, and pressuring or forcing you to have sex.

“Dating abuse is about power and control over another person,” Gillespie said. “If you have been abused, it is not your fault, but it’s crucial to understand that your abuser is unlikely to change their behavior.”

Your personal safety is your most important priority. If you need confidential support, the Love Is Respect hotline is available 24/7 at 1-866-331-9474. You can also contact the Rape, Abuse and Incest’s National Network’s National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673).

You can stop dating abuse before it starts by spotting warning signs.

About Oklahoma City Indian Clinic

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic was established in 1974 to provide excellent health care and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma. The clinic staff cares for more than 21,000 patients from over 220 federally recognized tribes every year. American Indians can receive a range of services, including medical, dental, pediatrics, prenatal, pharmacy, optometry, physical fitness, nutrition, family programs and behavioral health services. For more information, please call (405) 948-4900 or visit www.okcic.com.

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