Dating violence more prevalent than most think
Dating violence is more common than most people think, especially among youth and teens.
• One in 3 teens will experience physical or sexual abuse from someone they are dating.
• Indiana is fourth in the country for sexual assault among high school girls.
• 47% of teens in a relationship experience physiological abuse.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month. The Prevention team at Safe Passage, with assistance from the 6 county youth council, is coordinating increased outreach and programming for teens and parents to shed light on what healthy relationships look like. Safe Passage is the sole support service provider for the six counties in SE Indiana, and provides prevention programming to stop the violence before it starts. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Danielle Becker, Prevention Coordinator, said, “While it can be difficult to define love, we know what it is not: Love is NOT hitting or pushing; Love is NOT putdowns; love is NOT isolating. Love is NOT texting 24/7. Love is NOT controlling.”
Teen dating violence is defined as physical, psychological or sexual abuse; harassment; or stalking of any person ages 12 to 18 in the context of a past or present romantic or consensual relationship. Understanding what teen dating violence is, why it happens, and what it means for those involved is an important first step in prevention. Teen Dating Violence can be done in person or, with the explosion of social media and telecommunication, electronically. “Social media is a hotbed of violent and abusive activity, especially for teenagers who are new to relationships and unsure of how to handle their feelings most appropriately,” Becker added.
Respect Week Feb. 7 – 11 is dedicated to raising awareness about TDV and students are invited to participate in activities such as Wear Orange Day and Pajama Day while learning facts and information about the issue. Other outreach activities planned include:
• Feb. 11, a virtual Valentine’s party for youth will be from 6 to 7 p.m. and feature engaging topics and activities.
• The prevention team will also participate in a podcast on Feb. 15 with Amy Rose.
• Friday, Feb. 18, the Penny Wars between Lawrenceburg and South Dearborn will culminate and the school which collected the most for Safe Passage will be announced at the game.
• Feb. 28 A foundational self-care virtual workshop will be from 1-2 p.m.
• For parents, on March 8 there will be a virtual workshop “Talk About It” from 1 to 2:30 p.m. to educate parents or caregivers on warning signs to look for teen dating violence.
There is no cost for any of these programs. Understanding what a healthy relationship looks like is critical to having a good relationship, and it begins early.
Teens are also encouraged to get involved in the Safe Passage youth council, which meets virtually monthly. You can join the youth council or find out more by emailing email@example.com. For more information about the TDV awareness month activities and sign up, go to the website at safepassageprevention.org. For help if you’re in an abusive relationship, call 877-733-1990, texting now available