TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - Purple ribbons are placed throughout Downtown Tupelo to recognize Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
One local victim of dating violence talked to us about her experience.
Joni Johnson says the emotional, verbal and physical violence she suffered from her boyfriend of just eight months was so intense that she was forced to move away from her home state of Texas.
Johnson said, "At first I thought he just cared about what I was wearing and things like that. I realized once I couldn't talk to my friends and family it wasn't that he cared. He was trying to control every aspect of my life. The violence then started."
In the middle of the night, Johnson and a friend from here moved her away from Texas.
She said at the time she didn't even realize places like S.A.F.E., Inc., in Tupelo existed to help victims of violence.
Johnson said, "My friend's mother is actually a volunteer here, and I found out there are places that help. I wanted to be a part of it and help spread the word there are places to go to get that help."
Experts say teenagers and young adults often are embarrassed to tell someone they need help.
It is available to them.
Amelia Parkes with S.A.F.E., Inc., said, "You can talk to a parent, a counselor or a teacher. We have a counselor here they can call and speak with her."
The numbers show females are generally the victims of dating violence but it does affect men.
Parkes said, "A lot of males don't want to report they're being abused in a relationship but it does happen."
Whether male or female, people like Joni Johnson emphasize a loving relationship never includes abuse of any kind.
Johnson said, "They want to see you do good and succeed in life. Your whole world shouldn't revolve around one person."
Joni is currently pursuing a degree in social work to help those who go through what she was able to leave behind.
A domestic abuse awareness run and walk is coming up Saturday, February 16 in Tupelo's Ballard Park to help bring about more awareness.
Call S.A.F.E., Inc. in Tupelo for details.