February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and the Child Advocacy Center wants you to “Talk About It!” with your teens. Dating violence prevention starts with understanding the signs, symptoms and causes of teen dating violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in 11 girls experience dating violence each year; one in 14 boys.
Moreover, parents need to act. Without intervention, teen dating violence leads teens to anxiety and depression. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s project Love is Respect, “dating abuse is a pattern of coercive, intimidating or manipulative behaviors used to exert power and control over a partner.”
Manipulative behaviors include:
- Physical violence: a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking or using physical force
- Sexual violence: forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not or cannot consent (including non-physical sexual behaviors like posting or sharing sexual pictures of a partner without their consent)
- Psychological aggression: the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm a partner mentally or emotionally
- Stalking: a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner
The Child Advocacy Center of Rutherford County offers a child sexual abuse prevention program to members of the community. To learn how you can help to protect children, contact Carrie Norvell at 615-867-900 or email@example.com.
Loveisrespect.org offers 24-hour support for ages 13 to 26. In addition, there are resources for parents. For more information on teen dating violence, visit loveisrespect.org/talk-about-it or cdc.gov/violenceprevention.
Furthermore, call the Child Advocacy Center at 615-867-9000 for a list of local resources to help make starting the conversation easier.