Posts Tagged ‘Yearley Love’

Victims speak about teen-dating violence

February 25, 2011 3 comments

Johanna Orozco, of Cleveland, a victim of teenage violence, spoke to a crowd of local counselors, teachers and teens at the YWCA on North Park Avenue in Warren. Orozco’s ex-boyfriend shot her in the face in 2007.

A state law signed last year by then-Gov. Ted Strickland and sponsored by former state Rep. Sandra Stabile Harwood of Niles mandated that public schools begin to teach students in grades seven-12 about teen-dating violence starting this school year.

Implementation of the law, known as The Tina Croucher Act, hasn’t gone perfectly, said Cheryl Tarantino, executive director of the Warren domestic-violence shelter Someplace Safe.

Because the Legislature didn’t provide any funding to carry it out and because the law didn’t specify what kind of education is required, some schools are doing almost nothing, Tarantino said.

On Thursday, Someplace Safe and the 13 other Northeast Ohio organizations concerned about dating violence brought three of Ohio’s best-known teen-violence experts to the YWCA on North Park Avenue to train local counselors, teachers and teens on the subject.

Johanna Orozco of Cleveland may be the best living example of the consequences of teen-dating violence.

When Orozco, 22, first stepped to the microphone, it was apparent why people listen to her.

Not only is her face disfigured from a shotgun blast she suffered in 2007 when her ex-boyfriend shot her at close range, but she speaks in a dynamic way and relates to teens.

Orozco’s story, which has been told numerous times on national television and in a seven-day series in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, was that she was the victim of a tall, dark, handsome, intelligent and violent teen named Juan Ruiz Jr., Orozco’s boyfriend of two years.

Orozco had known Ruiz since the second grade. They started dating in early 2005, when Orozco was a sophomore in high school. Ruiz shot Orozco in March 2007.

The court sentenced Ruiz to 27 years in prison in September 2007 after he pleaded guilty to raping and attempting to kill Orozco. Ruiz was 17 at the time.

But during her talk Thursday, Orozco pointed out that her relationship with Ruiz was anything but violent in the beginning.

Four to five months into the relationship, Ruiz became jealous and started to tell Orozco what she could wear and who she could talk to. He accused her of cheating and began to call her every three to five minutes on the phone.

Her friends and family noticed that she had changed — becoming isolated from them. She lied about the reasons why.

A year into the relationship, Ruiz hit her for the first time, so she broke up with him, only to change her mind a short time later.

The relationship got worse over the following year — slapping, squeezing and hitting her in places where others wouldn’t notice. She continued to lie to friends and family about the source of the injuries because “I loved him. I cared about him,” she said. Eventually, she also feared him.

About a month before Ruiz shot her, she left him, but Ruiz found her and raped her at knifepoint, which she reported to someone at school, which led to juvenile charges being filed against Ruiz.

Ruiz was let out of juvenile custody on house arrest and stalked Orozco for two weeks before shooting her as she sat in her car.

The blast removed half of her lower face. Bone from her leg was used to rebuild her jaw.

The other speakers were Elsa and Jim Croucher of Monroe, near Cincinnati, the parents of Tina Croucher, who was killed by an ex-boyfriend in 1992.

Elsa Croucher said her daughter’s boyfriend was a good-looking football player who regularly hit her daughter, leaving bruises.

Tina Croucher lied about how she got the bruises, but eventually her family found out, and Tina stopped seeing him.

“Then he really caused problems,” Elsa said, describing “horrible messages” that he left on voice mails, and times he went to the family’s church and to Elsa’s workplace.

“Four days before Christmas, he shot her in the head and killed himself in her room,” Elsa said.

The Crouchers were instrumental in getting the Legislature to pass The Tina Croucher Act.


Published: Fri, February 25, 2011 @ 12:06 a.m.

By: Ed Runyan


Photo by: Robert K Yosay

Take care and STAY SAFE!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Teen Dating Violence: Education

February 24, 2011 1 comment

One way to decrease the chances of teens being in an abusive relationship is to encourage kids to love themselves. Show teens respect. Let them know that it is important for other people to respect them as well. If siblings are disrespecting one another, bring attention to the behavior and try to stop it. Encouraging teens to respect family members, friends and others will help them to demand respect in their dating and personal relationships.

As hard as we try to talk to our teens, they will not always feel comfortable telling us when something is wrong. Look up local hotline numbers for teens. Make a list and give it to your child. Also, have a list taped to the refrigerator and the back of the teen’s bathroom door. Let the teen know that the numbers are available if they ever need them. This way, the hotline numbers will be accessible to your teen should they become involved in an abusive relationship. The teen hotline numbers can be a valuable tool in helping teens in a time of crisis.

Victims of teen dating violence often feel as though they deserve the abuse or that they will not be able to find anyone else if they break up with their abusive partner. They may have low self esteem or fail to recognize emotional abuse and think that it is perfectly normal. Remind your teen that they deserve respect in their relationships. It is important to emphasize to teens that they will have several relationships where they think they are in love and have found a special person. Explain to your teen that they are young and that they will have many opportunities to date.

Safety issues are a main concern. Aggression and anger can lead to serious intentional or accidental injuries. If the teen has unexplained bruises or marks, talk to them about what you suspect is going on in their relationship. You do not have to confront them with questions. Just talk to them about healthy dating relationships. This lets the teen know that you are available and concerned without putting the teen on the defensive. If the teen feels that they have to defend their relationship, they are less likely to break up with the violent partner.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Warning Signs of Teen Dating Violence…

February 17, 2011 1 comment

It starts with the words, “I love you,” and it ends with a punch in the face.  It starts with the line, “It’s us against the world,” and it ends with her against the wall in tears. It starts with the suggestion of what to wear, and it ends with him saying, “I tear you down to build you up.  You are mine.”  I have heard the stories.  I have seen the pain.  So let’s look at the warning signs that every teen needs to know as well as parents.  Yes, it’s a “family problem”, however with education and the ability to be proactive every teen has the opportunity to escape the wrath of an abuser – safely.  Please do not ignore the following information.

Warning signs to watch out for teen dating violence include: sudden loss of interest in activities, low grades, changes in appetite, changes in sleep patterns, loss of regular friends and drastic changes in clothing.

Often victims will wear long sleeves, long pants and scarves to hide bruises and marks. If you as a parent suspect that your teen is in an abusive relationship, encourage zero tolerance for inappropriate dating behaviors.

If you suspect that your teen is being violent to their dating partner, talk to them. Let the teen know that love is about respect. Sometimes it is difficult to realize that your child is being mean or violent. Do not allow aggressive behavior in the home. Talk to the teen about emotional abuse and how it is unacceptable in any relationship. You could say something like, “It bothers me when you yell at so-and-so.” Express concern and talk to the teen about appropriate behavior. You may even want to seek professional help for your teen.

Teen dating violence is a problem that parents can help prevent. Talk to teens about the different types of violence. Be alert for warning signs and let the teens know that you care. Most of all, show teens the appropriate way to behave by being respectful and caring towards other people.

Encouraging teens to have healthy relationships before they begin dating is important. Be aware and keep the lines of communication open with teens about their relationships.

Signs of an abusive relationship

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

To determine whether your teen relationship is abusive, ask her/him to answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that your teen may be  in an abusive relationship.

Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings

Do you:

  • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
  • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless?

Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • humiliate or yell at you?
  • criticize you and put you down?
  • treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends and family to see?
  • ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • blame you for his/her own abusive behavior?
  • see  you a property or a sex object, rather than a person?

Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats

Does your partner:

  • have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • threaten to commit suicide if you break up with him/her?
  • force you to have sex?
  • destroy your belongings?

Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • control where you go and what you do?
  • keeps you from seeing your friends or family?
  • constantly checking up on you?
  • excessive texting or calling you?

If your teen is afraid for her/his safety or has been assaulted by her/his partner please dial 911 or call the National Dating Abuse Helpline, 1-866-331-9474.

Take care and STAY SAFE!


Let Your Heart Rule

February 14, 2011 1 comment

Does Your Relationship Rule?

The Healthy Relationship Quiz

Everyone deserves to be in a safe and healthy relationship. Do you know if your relationship is as healthy as you deserve? Answer “yes” or “no” to the following statements to find out! Make sure to circle your responses. At the end you’ll find out how to score your answers. Does Your Relationship Rule?The Healthy Relationship Quiz

The person I am with:      Circle One

1. Is very supportive of things that I do. Y N

2. Encourages me to try new things. Y N

3. Likes to listen when I have something on my mind. Y N

4. Understands that I have my own life too. Y N

5. Is not liked very well by my friends. Y N

6. Says I’m too involved in different activities. Y N

7. Texts me or calls me all the time. Y N

8. Thinks I spend too much time trying to look nice. Y N

9. Gets extremely jealous or possessive. Y N

10. Accuses me of flirting or cheating. Y N

11. Constantly checks up on me or makes me check in.  Y N

12. Controls what I wear or how I look. Y N

13. Tries to control what I do and who I see. Y N

14. Tries to keep me from seeing or talking to my family and friends. Y N

15. Has big mood swings – gets angry and yells at me one minute, and the next minute is sweet and apologetic.Y N

16. Makes me feel nervous or like I’m “walking on eggshells.” Y N

17. Puts me down, calls me names or criticizes me.  Y N

18. Makes me feel like I can’t do anything right or blames me for problems.Y N

19. Makes me feel like no one else would want me. Y N

20. Threatens to hurt me, my friends or family.  Y N

21. Threatens to hurt him or herself because of me. Y N

22. Threatens to destroy my things.  Y N

23. Grabs, pushes, shoves, chokes, punches, slaps, holds me down, throws things or hurts me in some way.Y N

24. Breaks things or throws things to intimidate me. Y N

25. Yells, screams or humiliates me in front of other people. Y N

26. Pressures or forces me into having sex or going farther than I want to.Y N


Give yourself 1 point for every “no” you answered to numbers 1-4; 1 point for every “yes” response to numbers 5-8; and 5 points for every “yes” to numbers 9-26.

Now that you’re finished and have your score, the next step is to find out what your score means.  Simply take your total score and see which of the boxes below applies to you.

Score: 0 points

You got a score of 0? Don’t worry—it’s a good thing! It sounds like your relationship is on a pretty healthy track. Maintaining healthy relationships takes some work—keep it up! Remember that while you may have a healthy relationship, it’s possible that a friend of yours may not. If you think you know someone who may be in an abusive relationship, find out how you can help that person end the abuse.

Score: 1-2 points

If you scored 1 or 2 points, you might be noticing a couple of things in your relationship that could be unhealthy, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are warning signs. It’s still a good idea to keep an eye on them to make sure there isn’t a pattern. The best thing to do is to talk to your partner and let them know what you like and don’t like. Encourage them to do the same. Remember, communication is always important when building a healthy relationship. It’s also good to be informed so that you learn to recognize the warning signs. Break the Cycle can give you information about teen dating violence and the different types of abuse there may be.

Score: 3-4 points

If you scored 3 or 4 points, it sounds like you may be seeing some warning signs of an abusive relationship. Warning signs should never be ignored. Something that starts small can grow much worse over time. No relationship is perfect – it takes some work! But in a healthy relationship you won’t find abusive behaviors. If you think your relationship may not be as healthy as you deserve, contact us for help and to get more information.

Score: 5 points or more

If you scored 5 points or more, you are definitely seeing warning signs and may be in an abusive relationship. You don’t have to deal with this alone. Break the Cycle can help. We can talk to you about your different options and legal rights.

To learn how you can create safe and healthy relationships,visit







Dating Violence 101

February 9, 2011 1 comment

What is Dating Violence?

Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner.

A Pattern of Behavior

Calling dating violence a pattern doesn’t mean the first instance of abuse is not dating violence. It just recognizes that dating violence usually involves a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time. Here is a model of how it works:

Tension Building

Things start to get tense between a teen and their dating partner.


The abuser apologizes, trying to make up with his or her partners and to shift the blame for the explosion to someone or something else.

Cycle of Violence


There is an outburst of violence that can include intense emotional, verbal, sexual and/or physical abuse.

Every relationships is different, but the one thing that is common to most abusive dating relationships is that the violence escalates over time and becomes more and more dangerous for the young victim.

Power and Control

The definition also points out that at the core of dating violence are issues of power and control. The diagram details how violent words and actions are tools an abusive partner uses to gain and maintain power and control over his or her partner.

Power and Control Wheel

What is a Partner?

“Partner” might mean different things to different people, particularly across generations. The relationship may be sexual, but it does not have to be. It may be serious or casual, monogamous or not, short-term or long-term. The important thing to remember is that dating violence occurs within an intimate relationship.

What Does Dating Violence Look Like?

Teens and young adults experience the same types of abuse in relationships as adults. This can include:

  • Physical abuse: any intentional use of physical force with the intent to cause fear or injury, like hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, kicking or using a weapon
  • Emotional abuse: non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking
  • Sexual abuse: any action that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including rape, coercion or restricting access to birth control

While teens experience the same types of abuse as adults, often the methods are unique to teen culture. For example, teens often report “digital abuse” — receiving threats by text messages or being stalked on facebook or MySpace.

If you or a loved one is in a violent relationship, please get help.

Ten Warning Signs of Abuse

While there are many warning signs of abuse, here are ten of the most common:

  1. Checking your cell phone or email without permission
  2. Constant put-downs
  3. Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  4. Explosive temper
  5. Financial control
  6. Isolating you from family or friends
  7. Mood swings
  8. Physically hurting you in any way
  9. Possessiveness
  10. Telling you what to do


Pop Quiz, Oh No; Oh Yes…Teen Dating Violence Facts

February 7, 2011 1 comment


Do you know how teen dating violence affects teens across the country?

Take this quiz to find out!

Give yourself one point for every question you get right.

1. At what age do females experience the highest amounts of relationship violence?
a. 16-24
b. 25-30
c. 31-35
2. What percentage of tweens (ages 11-14) in relationships know friends who have been verbally abused (called stupid, worthless, ugly, etc.) by a partner?
a. 5%
b. 25%
c. 47%
3. What is the number of teens that have had partners try to prevent them from spending time with friends or family?
a. 1 in 35
b. 1 in 4
c. 1 in 50
4. What percentage of high school students have been physically forced to have sexual intercourse?
a. 2%
b. 15%
c. 8%

5. What percentage of teens in relationships have been sent text messages 10, 20 or 30 times an hour by a partner wanting to know where they are, what they are doing and who they are with?
a. 30%
b. 10%
c. 25%
6. What percentage of teens in relationships have been called names, harassed or put down by their partner through cell phones and texting?
a. 25%
b. 17%
c. 3%
7. Which of these groups is able to deal with teen dating violence better?
a. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer (LGBTQ)
b. Teenage boys
c. Heterosexual (straight) people
d. Teenage girls over 17
e. No one group is better able to overcome teen dating violence.

Answer Key:

1. a. (16-24); 2. c. (47%); 3. b. (1 in 4); 4. c. (8%); 5. a. (30%); 6. a. (25%); 7. e. (no one group is better able to overcome teen dating violence.)

So, did you get all the questions right? Were some of your selections wrong? Well, guess what? It’s not the score that really matters; what’s important is to get the word out. Many people, especially teens, don’t know about teen dating violence. So regardless of whether you got all the questions right or wrong, share this knowledge with your peers.

Check out to get more information and to find out how you can get involved.

C.M. Rennison and S. Welchans, “BJS Special Report: Intimate Partner Violence,” (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics,
Tween/Teen Dating Relationships Survey (2008) TRU, Liz Claiborne Inc.
Teen Dating Abuse Survey 2006 (2006) TRU, Liz Claiborne Inc.
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (2005). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tech Abuse in Teen Relationships Study (2007). TRU, Liz Claiborne Inc.]
Tech Abuse in Teen Relationships Study (2007). TRU, Liz Claiborne Inc.]

You have the right to a safe and healthy relationship…free from violence and free from fear.
© 2008 Break the Cycle, Updated 3.08