Safety

Two Twin Cities women escape abusive teen relationships

When a 17-year-old Carolyn Phillips, now 46, of Minneapolis, brought her new 19-year-old boyfriend, Rick, to meet her parents, he was charming and sweet. Carolyn’s mom was especially charmed by Rick. So when he started being abusive they were on his side.

“He would even take my mom out to breakfast every Saturday,” Carolyn said.

After about six months of dating, Rick started to get abusive. He didn’t start out hitting Carolyn. He punched walls and threw things and told Carolyn this was what she would get if she didn’t do exactly what he wanted.

Sex by text

“Bow Wow,” a 16-year-old boy from New Prague, has between 20 and 30 pictures of semi-nude to naked teenage girls on his cell phone. Those photos are called sexts, or sexting, and came from both friends who forwarded the pictures to him by cell phone and from girls who sent him the pictures themselves.

Teen prevents suicide on Hennepin Bridge

Kris Mitchell was walking home from work across the Hennepin Bridge like usual on April 15 when he noticed something unusual – a man standing on the edge of the bridge. “Two thoughts went through my head: either he was a daredevil and he’s just messing around, or he’s going to jump,” Kris said.

Squash the relationship if it's abusive

When a teenage relationship suffers from dating violence, it is like a pop bottle being shaken up — you’re worried about opening the cap because you know it’s going to blow up in your face.

Somali youth labeled as terrorists

It’s a bright sunny day, perfect for basketball for Abshir Jama at the Brian Coyle Center in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis.

But for 17-year-old Jama, who was in town visiting his cousin, the day will end too soon.

“I have to be home before dark,” he said.

His family has imposed stricter rules for him, in an effort to protect him from violence in the Twin Cities.

Just a party or danger zone?

Like a cheetah hunting zebra, the arrival of police officers at a house party causes a herd of teenagers to scatter all directions. Following their survival instincts, the fearful teens flee out of the walkout basement door and then try to scale a white picket fence bordering the yard. Instead, the pack ends up trampling the fence down while the police officers, shaking their heads, look on.

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Students fight 60-second "body shots" in bathroom to avoid getting caught

Instead of fighting in the hallways at school, students at Humboldt Junior High take their conflicts into the bathrooms and do “60-second body shots,” in which one person gets to hit the other one in the body or face for 60 seconds without the other person fighting back.

Shootings in Somali community can't be ignored

It is 3 a.m. and my uncle, his son, his daughter, and I are in the family van on our way to the Masjid, or mosque. We are on our way to the late night prayer that Muslims perform on the last ten nights of Ramadan, the holy month of Islam, during which Muslims fast from sun up to sun down.

It is a peaceful night and it feels like our car is the only car on the road. It is dead quiet except for the prayer tape that we are listening to. The breeze feels as if it has been sent straight from heaven. It is cool, yet warm. Blessings quench my spiritual thirst, like lemonade on a hot summer day. This night is so peaceful and amazing that I can hardly hold back tears. Then my uncle breaks in, and asks if we have heard about the young Somali man who was killed in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis. The other kids say yes, but I ignore him. I really don’t want to think about it.

Immigrant women find help against abusers

“Nagma” was 18 years old when she was swept off her feet by a man while attending college in her native Zambia.
She graduated two years later with a degree in journalism and a baby daughter. Nagma moved in with the baby’s father soon after the birth. It seemed like happily-ever-after to her.

But it turned out not to be the fairy tale ending she hoped for. Twenty years later, Nagma, 38, is a resident at Home Free, a shelter for abused women and children located in Plymouth.

Love and happiness turned into the nightmare of domestic abuse. It began in Zambia. It followed her when she relocated to the United States.

Some college admissions checking Facebook

College Application? Check. ACT score? Check. College essay? Check. Recommendations? Check. Facebook page? Check?

It’s college application time and as seniors put their final touches on their applications, a new report is showing that they may have one more thing to worry about – their social networking pages.

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