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Dating abuse hotline: 866-331-9474

Love Doesn’t Hurt: Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

By Colleen Curlee, LTD PR Intern

Isn’t LOVE what February is supposed to be all about?

The month where love is in the air and happy relationships abound free and beautiful. What is your definition of love? Does it encompass romance, friendship, and trust? Does it involve being happy and satisfied in a relationship where you feel supported and encouraged? Of course it does.

So why is it that…?

  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year
  • One in three adolescents in the U.S. a victim of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner
  • Only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse
  • 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or don’t know if it is an issue

So we’re taking steps to change this.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and we are determined to change perceptions of love and dating for teens in the Rome area. We’ll be doing blog posts each week this month to give you the knowledge and inspiration you need to stop TDV from happening, and to help those in abusive relationships redefine love for themselves.

So what do we mean when we say Teen Dating Violence?

Officially, it is defined as “a pattern of behavior that includes physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse used by one person in an intimate relationship to exert power and control over another.”

TDV is not an isolated incident.

It is a cycle that takes time to recognize. This is what makes it so dangerous. Have you ever used a helium tank to fill up a balloon? When you first turn the gas on, the balloon immediately puffs up and begins filling with helium. After a moment or two, the movement slows down as the balloon gradually takes on more gas and continues filling up. If you’re not careful, you won’t notice exactly how large that balloon is getting until you finally overload it with gas and it pops – with all the gas exploding outwards. TDV works in a similar cycle that we’ll explain in greater depth throughout this month. The cycle of hurting and power will continue until someone refuses to handle the pressure anymore, with the explosion becoming dangerous and painful for everyone involved.

So, why should you care?

Because TDV can occur anywhere, at any time, and over every medium of communication from social media, to face-to-face conversations, to text messages and phone calls. It could happen to your best friend, your sister, your brother, and even the strongest person you know.

And in 2012, Georgia was ranked first in the nation for having the most incidents of teenage dating violence.

So here’s our challenge to you:

Assess your relationship throughout this month. Encourage a friend to read this blog and decide to assess his or her relationship together. Consider the difference you can make by educating yourself on the warning signs of TDV and by knowing your resources for it you ever become uncomfortable in a relationship. Together, we can stop teenage dating violence in Rome, GA. Look for our next blog post to learn more about the warning signs of teenage dating violence and get on the path toward love that doesn’t hurt.

Share your story and journey with us by using #lovedoesnthurt

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