‘No shame in reaching out’: experts share tips for how to spot teen dating violence
February is known as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - February is known as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
The annual, month-long effort focuses on advocacy and education to stop dating abuse before it starts. Houghton County’s Dial Help said teen dating violence is more common than you may think.
“Nearly 21% of female high school students and 13.4% of male high school students are reported to be physically and sexually abused by a dating partner. That’s our national percentage,” said Dial Help Communities That Care Coordinator Callisto Cortez.
Cortez said this accounts for an overall number of 1.5 million U.S. high school students every year.
“We really want people to recognize that this is an important topic to talk about and not stigmatize. Parents can talk to their kids about the warning signs and how to develop healthy boundaries with others,” Cortez said.
The Women’s Center in Marquette said there are several warning signs to look out for.
“One of those things is being controlled over that individual’s accounts: social media, wanting to check their text messages. Another thing is controlling their time and space, so if they want to spend time with friends or family, they will say they can’t do that,” said Women’s Center Sexual Assault Victim Advocate Madison Meehling.
And finally, any physical violence is one of the biggest warning signs.
“1 in 12 experience some kind of sexual abuse in a teen dating relationship, and it is the same for physical violence as well,” Meehling said.
Both Dial Help and the Women’s Center say there’s no shame in reaching out if you or a loved one is experiencing intimate partner violence.
You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233.
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