It’s February – the month of love! Many will search to find that perfect gift for their significant other. It is a great reminder to celebrate those closest to you. But February is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. So while you are planning the perfect date, take a minute to think about the teenagers in your life.
Teen dating violence is defined as a pattern or threat of abuse against teenagers in a relationship, occurring in different forms, including verbal, emotional, physical, and digital. According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner.
The study also states that 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence. Unless teens are spoken to about what relationships should and should not look like, they may not be able to see all the signs of the abuse. It can be a difficult conversation to start, but it is one that could help prevent future harmful relationships.
To help educate teens about healthy relationships, Safenet Services recently hired Kasi VanSandt to speak at schools in Rogers and Mayes County about what dating should look like, what it shouldn’t look like, and how to communicate and set boundaries while dating. Some of the high schools enrolled in the program are: Chelsea, Choteau, and Inola, in addition to Pryor Junior High and Rogers State University. In her first semester, she had a great response from the students and witnessed a growth in understanding of healthy relationships from the students.
We have all seen the banners proclaiming another awareness day, week, or month. I remember thinking, “We already know of these issues, or causes, why do we need to raise awareness of them?” Sometimes there seems to be a gap between awareness and educating. It is not enough to know there is a problem; we must spread the word on how to identify, understand, and solve it.
Safenet Services is a domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking prevention and intervention agency located in Claremore. If you need help, please call 918-341-1424.
For more information, visit www.SafenetServices.org