Focus on Teen Dating Violence: Prevention | News, Sports, Jobs
Treating people abusively will not be accepted. That’s the clear message from those who want to prevent teen dating violence (TDV), which is a serious problem in the United States, advises youth.gov, a website of the US Department of Health and Human Services. social.
Nearly 1.5 million teens (1 in 3) are reported to admit to being in unhealthy relationships. Girls aged 16 to 24 are three times more likely than any other demographic to be assaulted by a boyfriend or other intimate partner. Ten percent of teens, both female and male, reported physical dating violence in the past 12 months, and 29% reported verbal or emotional abuse, also in the past year.
The National Conference of State Legislatures, in addressing the issue of TDV, cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Adolescents who are victims of dating violence are more likely to display antisocial behaviors, engage in unhealthy behaviors such as tobacco, drug and alcohol use, suffer from depression and anxiety, and consider suicide. These continue into adulthood.
Additionally, individuals who experience VDT in high school are more likely to be victimized again in college.
The conference supported Dating Matters, a CDC initiative to raise awareness of TDV and prevention strategies for individuals, peers, families, schools, and neighborhoods. The report says that about half of the states nationwide have laws that allow, urge and require school boards to develop or include curricula on TDV.
In Ohio, legislators enacted the Tina Croucher Act (2014) which “requires school districts to adopt a dating violence prevention policy and include dating violence prevention education in the health education program.
TDV “includes physical, psychological or sexual harassment, or harassment of anyone between the ages of 12 and 18 in the context of a past or present romantic or consensual relationship”, explains teendvmonth.org. This can happen in person, on social media or via telecommunication or electronically. It’s violent and abusive, the site says.
Teens and tweens are not yet emotionally or mentally mature, not yet ready to deal with the stresses of a romantic relationship. VDT occurs when:
— They cannot communicate their feelings to their romantic partner.
— They don’t know how to communicate effectively with their romantic partner.
— They become depressed or suffer from anxiety or other emotional problems.
— They are pressured to behave in ways they would not normally by their peers.
— Drugs or alcohol are introduced.
Young people are influenced by what they see and hear around them. (Violence is considered normal these days.) Violence in the home confirms to them that it is “Ordinary.”
The consequences of TDV are depression, anxiety, aggression, alcoholism/drug addiction, anorexia/bulimia, suicidal thoughts, sexually transmitted diseases, serious criminal consequences.
Prevention is key, the sooner the better, as young people who are involved in TDV relationships often carry these things with them into future relationships throughout their lives. (Think about situations you have known about since your own youth.) Young people may be afraid to talk about what they are facing because of the consequences it has for their parents and peers. They need understanding, not punishment. They need someone they trust and admire, who inspires trust, respect and honesty in relationships.
Addiction doesn’t have an address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information on education, prevention and treatment programs for drug addiction and related behavioral problems, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or by email, [email protected] Visit the website at familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.