Mother Warns Of The Dangers Of Teen Dating | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Mother Warns Of The Dangers Of Teen Dating

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In this file photo, Sami Hightshoe, 16, of Mt. Carmel, Ill. pauses as she speaks at the 
National Press Club in Washington, Tuesday, July 8, 2008, during a news 
conference on teen dating violence and abuse. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
In this file photo, Sami Hightshoe, 16, of Mt. Carmel, Ill. pauses as she speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Tuesday, July 8, 2008, during a news conference on teen dating violence and abuse. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

In 2009, Siobhan Louise Russell had just graduated from high school and was getting ready to go to college.

"She said she was very proud of her achievements. And was looking forward to her future and the big, wide world that waited for her," says her mother Lynne Russell.

Siobhan was half way through writing her first novel. But she never finished it.

"She was killed when she was 19 years old. She didn't die from a tragic car accident. And she didn't die from a terminal disease. She died because a person chose to end her life, and that was her ex-boyfriend," Russell says.

Ever since then Lynne Russell has been alerting parents to the dangers of teen dating violence. Speaking at McLean High School Thursday night, she told the crowd the signs can be subtle at first.

"As simple as someone telling you how to act, how to dress, what to do," she says.

She says it’s easy to assume teens that get into abusive relationships fit a certain profile, but they don’t.

“It happens rich or poor, educated or uneducated,” says Russell. “We all know that behind closed doors some dreadful things go no matter where you live.”

Anjali Sunderam, whose daughter is a junior at McLean, says it's hard for parents to find a balance between watching out for children, and letting them grow up.

"You do want to empower them and make them independent but at the same time you have seen more moons than they have," she says.

But, with Valentine's Day on the horizon, she thinks it's time for another chat about love and relationships. And she's hopeful her daughter will listen.

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