February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Throughout this month, our School-Based Advocates will be working with local area teens to educate and raise awareness around the issues.

National Statistics: 

* Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year
* 1 in 3 teens in the US is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence
* 1 in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend
* 1/4 of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse

[For Teens]:

*  If you are in an abusive relationship…please talk to somebody that you trust:  parent, teacher, etc.  It’s okay to get help.
*  Know that it’s not your fault, and that you are not alone.  You deserve to be happy, and feel loved.  “Love is NOT abuse.”

[For Parents – tips for talking to your teens about healthy relationships]:

* Share the facts about healthy relationships…be sure to listen respectfully to your teen’s answer, even if you don’t agree. Then you can offer your opinion and explore other options together
* Set rules for dating…as kids get older, they gain more independence and freedom. However, teens still need parents to set boundaries and expectations for their behavior.
* Be a role model…you can teach your kids a lot by treating them and others with respect.
* Talk to your kids about sex…teach your children the facts about their bodies, sex, and relationships. Talking to your kids about sex may not be easy, but it’s important. You can help them stay healthy and make good choices as they grow up.
* Talk to your teen about any concerns…write down the reasons you are worried. Listen to your teen calmly, and thank him/her for opening up.

(Sources: healthfinder.gov & teendvmonth.org)