Miss Lee is helping start a nationwide hotline to combat teen dating violence:
Jessica Lee endured abuse from her high school boyfriend for two years, breaking up only after he burned her with cigarettes and slammed a beer bottle over her head. She has now joined an ambitious initiative to help teens in similar plights.
On Thursday, Lee and other former victims will be on hand in New York to help announce the creation of the first nationwide hot line specifically designed to combat the widespread problem of teen dating violence.
It will be run by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which mostly serves adults with its current operations. Calls to the new line will be answered by teens, plus other young adults, in the belief that young abuse victims would be more comfortable confiding in someone their own age.
"I wrestled over telling people what was happening to me because I was ashamed," said Lee, 19, who is now a freshman in Missouri State University's pre-nursing program in her hometown of Springfield, Mo.