Pee Dee Coalition urges adults to talk about dating violence
In recognition of February as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, Pee Dee Coalition is urging all responsible adults to learn about the dangers the children in their care face as they begin dating. Research shows that one in three high school students experience some form of dating violence equal to nearly 1.5 million US students each year.
Equally as troubling as the rate of abuse in teenaged relationships is research citing the notion that 81% of parents said they didn’t think or didn’t know if dating violence was a problem. Yet recent studies repeatedly show dating violence is dangerously wide-spread:
• One in ten high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or otherwise physically injured by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
• According to a 2014 CDC study for the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control young women between the ages of 18 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence.
• It also showed that nearly 54 percent of men and more than 69 percent of women who have been physically or sexually abused or stalked by a dating partner first experienced abuse between the ages of 11 and 24.
• According to a 2015 article entitled “The Co-Occurrence of Physical and Cyber Dating Violence and Bullying Among Teens” in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, of the 8.5 percent of middle school students who acknowledged that they bullied a classmate, nearly one in five had been a victim of dating abuse.
As Pee Dee Coalition Coordinator for the ROAR (Reducing Our Assault Risk) and RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) programs, Tracey Williamson encourages parents, mentors and educators to understand that dating violence in 2017 has a decidedly digital presence as well.
“More than half of high school students who experienced physical or sexual abuse by a dating partner have also been bullied electronically,” she says. According to Williamson, young people have ever-increasing access to and knowledge about technology. “Unfortunately even pre-teenagers today know that their phones, laptops and computers can be used to threaten, embarrass, intimidate or track their friends. The adults in their lives need to catch up to these social technologies and help teens use them to protect and improve their personal safety.”
Supported in part by the United Way, Pee Dee Coalition offers a variety of programs and speakers to help educate both responsible adults and young people about how to identify and prevent teen dating violence.
For more information call PDC at 843-669-4694. The Crisis Line is 843-669-4600.
Many additional resources for adults and teens are available online at loveisrespect.org, breakthecycle.org, and nomoresilence.org.