SUBMITTED By EBCI DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROGRAM
There will soon be a flood of heart shaped balloons, chocolate candies, and letters from secret admirers sent through schools, the work place, and the home. February is the month of love, and most either fail to remember or just do not know that February is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
Teen dating violence is a nation wide epidemic that affects too many young people. Nearly one in three teens in a dating relationship are victims of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse by their dating partner. Violent behavior typically starts between the ages of 12-18 and adolescents who are in violent relationships at a young age are more likely to carry it into their adult relationships. Educating our young community now about violent relationships, communication skills, and healthy relationships not only saves them from possibly carrying abuse into their adult life, but also saves the future generations from seeing and growing up in an abusive household.
For Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, the Domestic Violence Program will be visiting surrounding schools to present information to middle school students during their health class. The presentations will include facts about dating violence, how to identify emotional, physical, sexual, and digital abusive behaviors, warning signs of an abusive relationship, how to help a friend, and resources for help.
As adults and community members we have an obligation to the youth within the community to help and keep safe. Young people are inexperienced in the dating world, and sometimes need help in identifying a relationship that is unhealthy.
Listed below are warning signs of an abusive relationship:
- Over jealousy by their partner
- Constantly checking in with boyfriend/girlfriend
- No longer hangs out with friends or family
- Constantly stressing over relationship or partner
- Grades start suffering after start of relationship
- Less involvement in activities they used to enjoy doing
- Scared to make dating partner upset or mad
- Bruising or physical injuries
- Constantly tired
If you or someone you know is suffering in a violent relationship, please contact the EBCI Domestic Violence Program at (828)554-6830.