MEIGS COUNTY — February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). The Meigs County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and Victims Assistance Program asks you to wear orange on Feb. 11, to show your support for teenage victims of dating violence.
Dating violence among teens is much more common than one would think. According to DoSomething.org:
- Roughly 1.5 million high school boys and girls in the United States admit to being intentionally hit or physically harmed in the last year by someone they are romantically involved with
- 33 percent of adolescents in America are victim to sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse
- 1 in 10 teenagers involved in romantic relationships report being kissed, touched, or physically forced to have sexual relations with their partner
By joining together every February to support teenage victims of dating violence, we can spread awareness and stop dating abuse before it starts. Aside from wearing orange, we ask that you also talk to your children about this epidemic.
According to TeenDVMonth.org, teen dating violence is defined as physical, sexual, and emotional/psychological abuse between teenage partners. Violent behavior among perpetrators often begins between 6th and 12th grade.
Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to:
- Have unexplainable injuries or explanations for injuries that do not make sense
- Isolate themselves from friends
- Give up on things that were once important (grades, extra-curricular activities)
- Turn to illicit drugs and/or alcohol
- Attempt suicide
Familysafetyandhealing.org states these are the warning signs of an abusive teenage partner:
- Extreme jealousy and insecurity
- Explosive temper
- Constant belittling or put-downs
- Telling someone what they can and cannot do
- Repeatedly pressuring someone to have sex
As a bystander, guardian, family, or friend, you can make a difference by recognizing important signs of teen dating violence. In fact, according to dosomething.org only 1 out of every 3 teens who were involved in an abusive relationship confided in someone about the violence. Although these conversations may be hard, they are essential to ending this epidemic.
You can make a difference by:
- Wearing orange on February 11, 2020 to support and spread awareness on teen dating violence
- Talking to your children about healthy relationships
- Being a role model for your children and others
If you are in an abusive relationship, know someone who is in an abusive relationship, or are worried about your teen, call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-332-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522.
James K. Stanley is the Meigs County Prosecuting Attorney.