Written By: Amy Rodriguez, Prevention Educator with Agnesian HealthCare Domestic Violence Services
When one discusses domestic violence or dating violence, the first image that often comes to mind is an adult male partner hitting or abusing his adult female partner. Though this image or perception of violence is frequently talked about, there are several different relationships that can be volatile, including teen relationships.
One in three teens will be involved in a domestic violence relationship by the time they graduate high school. Of these teens, statistics indicate that only 33 percent of teens actually report violence occurring in their relationships. There are several factors that could prevent one from reporting abuse, such as fear of retaliation by the abuser or fear of social rejection by peers. It is also possible that teens involved in these relationships are not aware that they are victims or offenders of abuse based on their exposure to violence and family upbringing.
February has been dedicated nationally as the month to create awareness surrounding teen dating violence. Agnesian HealthCare’s Domestic Violence Services are making an active effort to inform the community of this concern by going into schools and discussing these relationships, having displays at school regarding teen dating violence and hosting a presentation at the Fond du Lac Public Library regarding teen dating violence. It is imperative that as a community we address this social issue now as if an individual involved in a violent relationship as a teen, the likelihood significantly increases that will be involved in a violent relationship later as an adult. We need to break the cycle of the violence together as a community by addressing and modeling the importance of safe relationships.
How can I help?
This month we as an agency are asking for the community to speak up against violence. No action is too small; here are some examples of what you can do:
- Talk about it
- Post on Facebook
- Wear orange for Teen Dating Violence Awareness color
- Post on Twitter using #safedating
- Create posters with your agency/school
- Educate yourself, Teen Dating Violence Session on February 16 at the Fond du Lac Public Library
- Are you concerned if you miss a text or call from your partner?
- Do you find that you are defending your partner or making excuses for their behavior?
- Are you afraid of your partner?
- Does your partner use your fears or weaknesses in order to put your down or embarrass you?