I personally want to make a change in the world and I am starting here, as a volunteer for A Woman’s Place (AWP). I decided to give back to my community through this organization and I have been volunteering at AWP’s shelter since October. It is the best decision I have made. Some people are saddened by the thought of people living in the shelter but when I first stepped into the shelter, I actually smiled. I smiled at the sight of the laughing kids and women. You could see how brave they are and how they are there for one another. And I smiled because it felt right for me to be a part of the change that AWP is creating in our community.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). What is teen dating violence? It is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner. Why is it important?
- One in three U.S. teens and young adults, both boys and girls, is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds victimization rates for other types of violence affecting youth. (more info at www.breakthecycle.org)
- Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. (more info at http://www.teendvmonth.org/research)
- One in ten high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. (more info at http://www.teendvmonth.org/research)
- One quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse or date rape. (more info at http://www.teendvmonth.org/research)
More often than not, teens try to keep the abuse a secret from others. Most of society does not realize how prevalent it is. Take a moment and look around at your friends, family members, or kids at your school and consider what their true situation might be.
- Only thirty-three percent of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse. (more info at http://www.teendvmonth.org/research)
- Eighty-one percent of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue. (more info at http://www.teendvmonth.org/research)
- Though eighty-two percent of parents feel confident that they could recognize the signs if their child was experiencing dating abuse, a majority of parents (58%) could not correctly identify all the warning signs of abuse. (more info at http://www.teendvmonth.org/research)
It is important for our community to take a stand against this epidemic of teen dating violence. Everyone needs to talk about it (not sure how to get started? Take part in It’s Time to Talk Day, this Tuesday February 4th, sponsored by the No More campaign. Even just one ear willing to listen can make all the difference in the world.
Albus Dumbledore once said “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light”.
AWP Teen Volunteer & YAAB Member