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February is national teen dating violence awareness and prevention month!

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Mark your calendars, the President has proclaimed that February is teen dating violence and awareness prevention month.

Dating violence is a reality that continues to haunt millions of young people. According to national statistics released by the government, one of every 10 high school students report physical abuse by a boyfriend or girlfriend. Even more report emotional abuse, which includes: shaming, bullying, and threats.

Emotional abuse among teens can have lasting impacts on their emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness. Some of the lasting impacts physical and emotional abuse can have on teenagers include:

1. Depression.

2. Substance abuse.

3. Physical health complication.

4. Increased incidence of teen pregnancy.

5. Greater risk of teen suicide.

6. Criminal activity.

7. Chronic health complaints.

Dating abuse can also lead to other forms of domestic abuse, including sexual assault. Dating abuse is not the only problem that teenagers face. Bullying, shaming, and threats are real life realities that many teenagers and even middle school students face in today’s society. The only way to help curb such behaviors is to increase public awareness, and to help students assert their rights to self-respect, safety, and freedom.

National Abuse Dating Helpline

Help and support should begin in one’s home and in the community. Local churches and other organizations can be a source of strength and hope for teenagers searching for answers in a world that seems overwhelming. For teens that need instant help, grab a phone. Help is just a phone call away. A National Abuse Dating Helpline has been established offering confidential support to teenagers in unhealthy or abusive relationships. For information and support contact:

1-866-331-9474

Text “loveis” to 77054

Visit: www.LoveIsRespect.org

Denver

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) – Denver works with many other local and state agencies to help advance thinking and leadership to end violence and domestic abuse. Among them include SafeHouse Denver.

According to SafeHouse Denver, 1 of every 5 girls in a relationship report their boyfriend threatens violence or self-harm at the report of break up. Breaking up shouldn’t be this challenging.

This is almost double what is reported in national statistics. 1 in 4 teenager girls has reported being pressured toward sexual intimacy. Teens have a bill of rights, just like the constitution guarantees all citizens a bill of rights. These rights guarantee all people, teens included, rights to certain liberties and freedoms including the right to say no to sexual pressure. Included in your bill of rights are:

1. The right to say “no” to pressure and violence.

2. The right to safety, and to feel safe.

3. The right to disagree with a date.

4. The right to have a healthy relationship.

5. The right to set physical and sexual boundaries.

6. The right to respect.

To learn more about your rights or to get help if you need it, Contact SafeHouse Denver:

303-318-9989

SafeHouse-Denver.org

Remember, you are not alone in this! Reach out to friends, family, and/or the support of a local church or community agency. SafeHouse-Denver and other committed organizations can provide you with a list of references so that you remember you are loved, cherished, and have a right to just say no to teen violence.

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