February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. One way to help prevent domestic abuse in our churches, communities and schools is to teach our youth what healthy dating relationships look like. The Love Is Respect site (www.loveisrespect.org ) has many good ideas on how to raise awareness. I urge you to take the time to learn more about this issue as it is more prevalent than we realize.
For your convenience, I have taken the time to pull together the following information and downloadable materials:
What is it? Dating violence is defined as a pattern of controlling or abusive behaviors perpetrated by a current or former dating partner. Abusers can be male or female, and experts are seeing these patterns of behavior in younger and younger students as pre-teens and elementary students engage in dating relationships before developing healthy relationship skills and boundaries. Abuse occurs in-person as well as through cyberbullying and cyber-control. https://www.justsayyes.org/topics/dating-violence/ .
Statistics: source: https://www.justsayyes.org/topics/dating-violence/
- 1 in every 5 high school students report being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner. Journal of the American Medical Association
- 1 in every 5 students between the ages of 11 and 14 say their friends are victims of dating violence, with nearly half experiencing verbal abuse. Futures Without Violence
- 1 in 3 teen girls is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. Futures Without Violence
The Effects of Dating Violence: Unhealthy, abusive or violent relationships… have a negative effect on teen development. Victims of dating violence are more likely to struggle in school. They also report higher rates of binge drinking, suicide attempts, and physical fighting. In some cases, victims will carry this pattern of violence into future relationships. http://houseoftruthinc.org
Video – 46 Sec. PSA by concerned students at Valdez High School in Alaska: https://vimeo.com/204607145 .This accompanying website has a comprehensive list of organizations that have great info, resources, and tools for you: http://www.avvalaska.org/teens.html
How to begin a conversation: http://www.itstimetotalkday.org/sites/default/files/How-To-Start-A-Conversation-Guide.pdf
Downloadable materials: http://www.loveisrespect.org/resources/download-materials/ – Includes bookmarks, palm cards, handouts, quizzes and posters
As we seek to reflect God’s love to others, it is imperative to teach our young people that love does not hurt others. Our churches, communities, and schools would be a safer place and future marriages will have a better chance of being healthy and successful. Thank you for helping to raise awareness by choosing at least one thing to do this month.
As a final note, I would so appreciate your help in directing women affected by domestic abuse to the Christ-centered Oasis Bible Study that is offered as a live online class. Women can join in anytime. For more information please call me at 503.850.8225. Hopefully, in the future, there will be less of a need for a class like Oasis if we all do our part in helping to raise awareness.
Thank you for your time and may God bless your day!