Austin (KXAN) - There was a rare sight at House Park field in Austin Wednesday. High school football players from multiple teams united with one goal in mind. They are helping spread the message that dating violence is wrong.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Football players will wear purple ribbons on the back of their helmets to raise awareness about the problem.
"It's not okay if they cuss at you," said Director of Development and Communication at the Texas Advocacy Project Heather Bellino. "It's not okay if they embarrass you in front of your friends. It's not okay if they need to know where you are at all times. It's not okay if they separate you from your friends."
The campaign called "Football is a contact sport. Love shouldn't be" is sponsored by the Texas Advocacy Project and the Travis County Sheriff's Department.
Announcers will tell crowds at football games about the campaign. The idea is to start a conversation so everyone can recognize if a teen is a victim of emotional or physical abuse in a dating relationship. Then, know where to go for help.
The Texas Advocacy Project offers free legal help for domestic violence victims. The project's hotline number is 1-800-374-HOPE.
Bronwyn Blake knows first hand how big of a problem teen dating violence is. She is a Senior Attorney with the Texas Advocacy Project and works specifically with the teen victims. Lawyers at the project may help the victim get a protective order against the former partner.
Blake says dating violence -- physical or emotional abuse -- happens to as many as one in every three teens.
She has dealt with the victims who face some scary things.
"I personally have had clients that have had a gun to their head, that have been physically assaulted, that have had broken bones and black eyes," said Attorney Bronwyn Blake with the Texas Advocacy Project. "It's not something we like to think about happening to anyone let alone a teenager."
Blake said if you know someone in an abusive relationship tell them three things: You care about them. You are scared for their safety. You will be there for them when they are ready for help.
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