Alternatives to Violence Asks the Community to Promote Healthy Relationships Education during February – Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

 Teen dating violence is a real issue and comes with serious short and long-term effects. It’s important to help young people learn how to build and recognize healthy relationships to support their development and keep them safe. Studies show one in three young people will be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship, and most will not report it because they do not want to expose themselves or do not know the laws surrounding domestic violence.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is the perfect time to educate teens about dating abuse. Alternatives to Violence (ATV) is a great resource to champion efforts in schools, workplaces, teen clubs and venues, and even at home – anywhere where there is an opportunity to reach teens.

“Dating violence is preventable, especially if education about healthy relationships starts early,” said ATV Executive Director, Kari Clark. “A teenager experiencing a new relationship might not realize that some of the uncomfortable feelings that are happening are not healthy. We want to help make young people aware of the warning signs.”

Teen dating violence is when one or both partners, in an attempt to control the other, use abusive acts to make that person do what he or she wants. This may involve, but is not limited to, physical violence. Teen dating violence can also be verbal, emotional, sexual or a combination of these.Signs of abuse in a teen relationship may include:

  • Name-calling; extreme jealousy; threatening to hurt the partner, family or him/herself
  • Physical violence such as slapping, hair pulling and/or strangling
  • Unwanted touching; forced sex or sexual acts
  • Verbal discouragement; doesn’t compromise
  • Sets boundaries; doesn’t allow partner to see friends

Teens that experience dating violence are more likely to:

  • Experience depression and anxiety
  • Engage in unhealthy behaviors such as using tobacco, drugs and/or alcohol
  • Exhibit antisocial behaviors
  • Think about suicide
  • Have increased risk of victimization during college

 

Those who wish to help educate teens in their community can follow ATV’s Facebook page or contact Marigaye Barnes at marigaye.barnes@alternativestoviolence.org for engagement ideas, collateral and partnerships.

Anyone who believes their child is experiencing teen dating violence can call ATV for help at 970-669-5150.