While Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, February isn’t all about glorifying relationships that are working out. It’s also a time to recognize relationships that are putting teenage girls at risk.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, a time when multiple organizations across the country are asking citizens to come together to work toward preventing dating abuse. Part of doing that is through the #1Thing campaign, a campaign focused on getting people to learn one thing about teen dating violence.
According to Loveisrespect, a project from the National Domestic Violence Hotline that works to empower youth to prevent and end dating abuse, nearly one in three teenagers in the United States will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship before they become adults. That number equates to around 1.5 million high school students in the country who are experiencing domestic violence. Additionally, around 28 percent of men who are in college reported experience either abuse or controlling behaviors in a relationship.
“Dating violence is an epidemic that is 100 percent preventable. We need to support our teens with education about dating violence prevention,” said Katie Ray-Jones in a release. She is the CEO of the National Violence Hotline and for Loveisrespect. “If every teen can understand just one more thing, we can prevent dating abuse.”
Loveisrespect says if people just learn one thing about domestic violence in teen dating, then they can start a conversation about healthy relationships in friend groups, schools and communities. Those who want to participate in the #1Thing campaign can do so by using the hashtag on social media channels to discuss domestic violence in teenage relationships. Some organizations in the country are encouraging people to wear orange to signify awareness for domestic violence in teenage relationships.
“With one in three teens experiencing dating violence, it is clear that all teens are at risk. We want everyone to come together to promote messages highlight the differences between healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships,” Ray-Jones said in the release.
Violence Free Colorado says parents can play an important role in helping their children avoid teen dating violence by showing their children support. According to Violence Free Colorado, 81 percent of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it is an issue. Violence Free Colorado is Colorado’s domestic violence coalition.
Loveisrespect provides support to those in need through online chat at www.loveisrespect.org. If you are in a domestic violence situation, you can text loveis to 22522 or by calling 1-866-331-9474. If you are in a crisis situation or need help immediately, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).