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Students aren't the only ones having trouble deciphering the signs and taking them seriously; many adults, including those who work at schools or in other situations with young people, have trouble as well.
According to Sperling, one of the biggest challenges facing adults, including parents, is that many people mistakenly believe that abuse starts with physical violence as opposed to emotional or verbal abuse.
Additionally, Sperling says that when speaking to each other and young people, adults can make sure that everyone knows what signs of verbal and emotional abuse look like, as opposed to waiting for when a victim has experienced visible signs of physical abuse.
And what can young people do to curb teen dating violence?
The crucial thing, she notes, is that victims know they have a support system in place for when that time comes.
"Abusive partners try to isolate their victims so they feel like they have no one to turn to, so if or when the victim decides to leave, knowing that you have their back is going to be really important," she says.
Among these details, however, was another key piece of information: Like many mass shooters, the shooter had a history of violence against women.
One Stoneman Douglas student, Victoria Olvera, told the Associated Press after the attack that the shooter was allegedly abusive to an ex-girlfriend and fought her new boyfriend prior to the shooting.
Melanie Sperling, chief of staff at One Love Foundation, tells that it's largely cultural.
(Photo by AFP) (Photo credit should read /AFP/Getty Images)Soon after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, media attention immediately turned to who the shooter was and what "warning signs" illustrated prior to the event may have indicated that he was likely to carry out such a horrendous attack.
Much of the focus was on his potential ties to white nationalist groups (there is still no evidence of such ties), as well as his ongoing run-ins with law enforcement, who were reportedly called to his residences dozens of times.
Even worse, actions like gaslighting and threats may be seen as just "part of being a teenager." Rachel De Ladesmo, communications coordinator at Break the Cycle, an organization that aims to build healthy relationships among young people and end abuse, tells that many people first experience abuse before the age of 25, but often adults place many assumptions on how they believe a victim should "look" or "act." In turn, more serious behavior is overlooked until it's too late.
Even if young people do tell an authority figure what's happening, many adults fail to help or offer resources.