Indianapolis News and Headlines


Talking to kids about healthy relationships

Posted at 12:11 AM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 06:19:41-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- One mother is on a quest to turn her own personal tragedy into a lifesaving lesson.

Debbie Norris says parents don't spend nearly enough time talking to their kids about what makes good relationships work. The issue became a personal cause when her daughter Heather was killed by her boyfriend, Joshua Bean.

Heather Norris was just 18 when she began dating Bean. Their relationship ended with Bean cutting up her body with a chainsaw in April 2007 and tossing the remains into several dumpsters across the south side of Indianapolis.

Heather's remains were never found.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11 percent of Hoosier teens reported some kind of physical abuse from a boyfriend or girlfriend within the past year. Ten percent reported forced sexual intercourse within their lifetime. And 48 percent of all students nationally reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment.

The experts at the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence say it's important to talk to your children about what a good relationship looks and feels like.

"If we wait until our kids are in a dangerous situation, it's going to be harder to start that conversation," said Colleen Yeakle. "Let's start early before we're concerned about our kids."

Debbie Norris says she never dreamed that domestic violence could happen to somebody she knew, let alone the person she loved the most in the world.

"I'll never forget about what it's like everyday to wake up and she's not there," Norris said. "I'll never forget to tell her that I love her again. There are things I'll never be able to forget."

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233.


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