February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Dating violence is a pattern of behavior involving the use or attempted use of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, economic, technological or other abusive behavior to harm, harass, intimidate, manipulate, control, isolate, restrain or monitor another person with whom they have had a social relationship involving a physical, emotional, or sexual component in any form. One in three teens, ages 12 to 18, in the U.S. today has experienced some form of dating violence, and studies have shown this behavior to carry through into adult relationships. The ultimate goal of prevention and intervention is to stop dating violence before it begins.
Women’s Haven will be presenting an event to help raise awareness of teen dating violence in our community. The event will be held on Tuesday, February 21st at 7:00pm at Connections Church (1302 US Hwy 81, Duncan). Everyone is invited to attend the event to learn about the impact of teen dating violence in our community, how to recognize the warning signs and what we can do to help and support our youth.
Dating violence does not come out of love, it arises from jealousy and insecurity and a need for control. We need to stop it now. By acknowledging and speaking out against teen dating violence, by teaching comprehensively about domestic violence, sexual violence and healthy youth relationships, by providing a safe space for help and for discussion, you could make the difference between life and death.
During the preteen and teen years, young people are learning the skills they need to form positive, healthy relationships with others. This is an ideal time to promote healthy relationships and prevent patterns of relationship violence that can last into adulthood. Studies investigating the effectiveness of programs to prevent dating violence are beginning to show positive results. Most programs focus on changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviors linked with dating violence while focusing on the skills needed to build healthy relationships. Women’s Haven offers presentations and a program to educate teens in these areas. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Women’s Haven, a United Way Agency, at 580-252-4357 (HELP) or toll free -1-877-970-4357.