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Conference stresses relationship abuse isn't just an urban problem

State University of New York at Plattsburgh Gender and Womens studies professor Dr. Simona Sharoni did an exercise with the young women to list ingredients of a healthy relationship.

Shahara said one of the reasons she wanted to participate in the Girl Conference Series was because when she was 17, she was in an verbally, mentally and financially abusive relationship.

"When I was their age I didn't know about all the types of abuse. For me abuse just meant physical so I thought to myself as long as someone wasn't hitting me that I was being respected and was being loved in the proper way," Shaharah said. "I think its great to be involved in teaching these girls about all the different types of abuse and what their local resources are so that when they do recognize that they are in abusive relationship they know what to do and where to go."

Beekmantown school counselor Jennifer Duffy said she and other staff members thought the conference would be beneficial to young girls as they prepare to leave their parents' homes for college, giving them knowledge of what to do in an emergency.

"We wanted them to learn some safety tips that they should be made aware of in certain situations," said Duffy.

"If even one girl from the conference learned something that will get them out of a bad relationship or prevents them from being beaten, it was worth it," said Danylewich.

Editor Jeremiah S. Papineau contributed to this report.

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