The Well Magazine Summer 2012 - Page 15

escape the mental and emotional prison I had been enslaved in. nce I was able to get myself and my thoughts together, I knew I had to be a voice for people who were in abusive relationships. Soon after Nova's death, I began to have dreams about her. One morning, I was dreaming of Nova and I saw the word P.U.R.S.E. spelled out in black bold letters with periods between each letter. The same day that I had the dream, I came across an article featuring Nova's mother, Yolan Henry, holding a purse. Yolan said the purse she was holding was symbolic because it was the purse her daughter was carrying when she died. I realized I was given a mission and purpose inspired by a dream to make P.U.R.S.E. a confirmed reality. P.U.R.S.E. stands for partnering under real situations every day. The P.U.R.S.E., being referred to is the one that carries the concealed emotions of silent cries, quiet hurts, and loud pains. We all may have stories and problems that are too hurtful and shameful to share with others, so we conceal them, hoping no one will find out what we are carrying. The mission of P.U.R.S.E. is to focus on teen dating violence. Each year one in four adolescents report being verbally, physically, or emotionally abused. P.U.R.S.E. believes if teens are informed and educated early about teen dating violence, it will decrease the chances of them being subjected to violence at a young age and curve the likelihood of them becoming victims of abuse as adults. The goal of P.U.R.S.E. is to spread awareness to community members and students about the different forms of abuse. Also, the intent is to help people recognize the red flags associated with abuse, and help them escape and seek help if they, or someone they know, is in an unhealthy relationship. P.U.R.S.E. has been networking and partnering with high schools and churches in hopes of effectively spreading awareness about teen dating violence. Since advocating against teen dating violence, I have met several teens who have told me what they were carrying in their purse. I also serve as a mentor for one student who was inspired by P.U.R.S.E. and willing to help spread awareness as well. In the future, Erika Lee, a native of Illinois, P.U.R.S.E. hopes to have currently resides in Georgia. She is the founder of the P.U.R.S.E. workshops and a mentoring program that will serve nation- Foundation and a motivational speaker who focuses on teen datwide to teen boys and girls. ing violence. O Abusive Relationship Warning Signs When in an abusive relationship, people may encounter several experiences that may lower their self-esteem and make them feel hopeless in life. If you, or someone you may know, are experiencing any of the following warning signs, please seek help. National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 1. Has your partner teased you in a hurtful way in private or in public? 2. Does your partner act jealous of your friends, family, or co-workers? 3. Does your partner get angry about the clothes you wear or how you style your hair? 4. Does your partner blame you for their problems or bad mood? 5. Does your partner get angry so easily you feel like you're "walking on eggshells"? 6. Does your partner hit walls, drive dangerously, or do other things to scare you? 7. Does your partner often drink or use drugs? 8. Have you lost friends or no longer see some of your family because of your partner? 9. Does your partner accuse you of flirting with other people? 10. Does your partner threaten to hurt you or pets? 11. Does your partner force you to have sex when you do not want to? 12. Does your partner threaten to kill you if you leave? For more information about supporting the PURSE Foundation and preventing teen dating violence go to: ww