Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – One in five teenagers will experience dating violence in Wisconsin. That’s according to Dare 2 Know, a program working to end teen dating violence.

An advocate with The Bridge to Hope, a domestic violence resource center in Menomonie, says that teen dating violence can look different in every situation.

“It can be the emotional aspect, which is more of the put-downs or embarrassing you in public. It can be physical abuse, which is more of that hitting, slapping, or choking. And it could also be sexual. So, forcing someone on birth control, maybe forcing someone off of birth control or forcing different sexual acts.”

Fahrenkamp says that dating violence can affect anyone.

“Teen dating violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or class.”

She says part of prevention comes from teens knowing the red flags.

“Plenty of people have friends that maybe are toxic or maybe they need to work on communication. So, I think it’s important to be aware of those warning signs in all relationships.”

Other advocates agree that it’s important to keep an open conversation going.

“We bring the discussion to the forefront so that they can become more comfortable with talking about these difficult topics. It’s more about that allowing the conversation to happen and not sweeping it under the rug.”

Fahrenkamp says changes in behavior or routine can indicate an unhealthy dating situation.

“Teens can definitely end up behaving differently. Maybe they don’t do the regular activities that they normally do. They don’t talk to the friends that they normally talk to, and they’re more isolated from their normal activities.”

Advocates suggest talking to teens if you see any signs of this behavior. But the conversation should be done with care and without judgment. The Bridge to Hope offers help and resources to anyone experiencing dating violence. And Evolving Wellness offers a safe haven every Thursday for teens in the area to meet and talk with peers about dating violence and other issues.