“What do you think is the biggest issue facing teens dating today?”
“Can you identify the warning signs and red flags of potential teen dating violence?”
These are some of the questions on the evaluation form for A Woman’s Place Teen Dating Violence education program. A Woman’s Place offers these programs at middle and high schools throughout Bucks County. Through a blend of discussion, interactive activities, videos, and stories, these programs raise awareness about the issue of dating violence and its impact on kids, families, and communities, as well as the resources and options available to students experiencing abuse or violence in their relationships. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month when many advocates focus on raising awareness of this common and serious problem. The nationwide statistics are staggering:
- One in three teens report experiencing some form of abuse (verbal, emotional, sexual, physical) in their dating relationships.
- One in three teens report receiving 10-30 texts an hour from a dating partner “checking in” on them.
- Teen dating violence is associated with increased rates of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.
- Two in three teens experiencing dating violence never tell anyone about the abuse.
Despite these statistics, most parents have never talked to their children about abusive relationships and many schools do not include teen dating violence in their curriculums. So what can we do as educators, parents and community members to combat and prevent this problem and keep our teens safe?
- If you are a parent or have young people in your life, talk to them about the issue of teen dating violence and abusive relationships. Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence has some great resources to get the conversation started: http://www.pcadv.org/Learn-More/Domestic-Violence-Topics/Teen-Dating-Violence/
- If you are an educator or school administrator, invite A Woman’s Place into your school or group for an education program. All of our programs are free and can be tailored to fit the needs of your group. For more information visit: http://awomansplace.org/prevention-project/children_youth.html
- If you are a concerned community member, educate yourself and get involved. A Woman’s Place website provides several options such as volunteering, donating and supporting our fundraising events: http://awomansplace.org/supportus_landingpage.html
- If you or someone you know is experiencing teen dating violence call our free, private and confidential hotline: 1-800-220-8116.
Abusive relationships thrive in silence. Speak up, ask for help, share information. Love shouldn’t hurt.
Community Educator & Empowerment Project Coordinator
A Woman’s Place