February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
February is National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month and it is critical that we take this time to remember that domestic abuse is not just a problem for adults. One in three adolescents in the U.S. will be a victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse from a dating partner. Nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser. Two-thirds of teens who are in an abusive relationship never tell anyone about the abuse. It’s time to shine a light on this issue.
Recognizing abuse in a relationship can be difficult, especially for teens. There are many types of abuse that young people may believe are normal in a relationship. Even though teen relationships may be different from adult relationships, teens can experience the same types of abuse. Teens also face unique obstacles, if they decide to get help. They may not have money, transportation or a safe place to go.
Anyone can be a victim of dating violence. Both boys and girls are victims, but boys and girls abuse their partners in different ways. Girls are more likely to yell, threaten to hurt themselves, pinch, slap, scratch or kick. Boys injure girls more and are more likely to punch their partner and force them to participate in unwanted sexual activity.
Everyone, including teens, has a right to safe and healthy relationships. Here are ways you can take part:
- Get help immediately! If you think you are in an abusive relationship. Don’t keep your concerns to yourself. Talk to someone you trust like a parent, teacher, school principal, counselor, or nurse. If you want help deciding whom to talk to, call CAP Services’ local crisis line at 1-800-472-3377.
- Educate yourself about dating violence and healthy relationships. There are a few good websites including www.loveisrespect.org and www.breakthecycle.org.
- Know that being a victim of dating violence is not your fault. Nothing you say, wear or do gives anyone the right to hurt you.
- Be there for someone you know who is in an abusive relationship. Listen to them and encourage them to seek help.
CAP Services’ local domestic abuse office staff is available to talk to you or your friend. Services are free and confidential. Don’t worry, the staff will never tell you what to do but rather give you options. The number is 920-787-3889 or 1-800-472-3377, 24-hour crisis line. CAP’s Domestic Abuse Outreach office is located in the CAPsell Building at 205 E. Main Street in Wautoma.
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