This month is Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month and we would like to help bring awareness to dating violence and ways to prevent it.
Did you know that according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, almost half of college dating women report having had violent and abusive dates and that almost 1.5 million students in High School across the country have had physical abuse from a date partner in just one year? Domestic violence happens the most among females that are 18 to 24 years of age.
WEAVE is a non-profit organization that provides crisis intervention services for those who have suffered domestic violence and sexual assault. They also provide outreach and 24/7 response for victims of sex trafficking.
Intervention for date violence and sex trafficking is not enough, education and prevention are critical to improving how we all respond to violence. WEAVE is committed to breaking the cycle of violence by helping to educate the community.
Steps To Prevent Dating Abuse and Violence:
1. Speak with Someone
If you are confused about your relationship and unsure about the situation, speak with someone you trust about it like a family member, school counselor or close friend. You can call a violence hotline and get help with your relationship and in identifying possible abuse or violence. Violence Hotlines are an effective resource for getting help and avoiding abuse and violence.
2. Get Educated
If you know the signs to look for, you can avoid dating someone likely to be abusive. Learn more about how dating violence happens and the tendencies of those who are likely to be abusive. Read up on stories of those who have gone through this and what they learned so you can avoid it. Get help immediately if you see threats of violence, sudden mood changes or controlling behavior from your partner.
3. Group Date or Double Date
Dating violence often occurs on the first or second date before two people have become an official couple. One example of physical violence that can happen early on is date rape. You can avoid these types of situations by not pairing off with a single person on the first date or two. Going on a group or double date with people you know will ensure you are not alone with someone you don’t know.
4. Be Careful with Alcohol and Drugs
Date rape drugs can be slipped into someone’s drink so be careful, especially in public places, when drinking alcohol. Do not take an open drink from a person you do not know. Be sure to control the amount of alcohol that you do drink, or simply do not drink at all. Drinking too much can cause you to lose control of your environment, enabling another person to take advantage of you.
5. Be Prepared to Leave
If you feel uncomfortable, be ready to leave any kind of dating situation at a moment’s notice. Keep spare change, cell phone, and limit your drinking so that you are prepared at all times. You don’t want to be hesitant to leave when there are red flags simply because you’re not prepared. Always be ready with resources on hand.
6. Watch for Red Flags
Be on the look-out for warning signs that can protect you from dating violence. Behaviors like an unpredictable temper or destroying your belongings may foreshadow dating violence. Learn what red flags to look for and then pay attention to the signals in your partner. Watching for these red flags can help you to protect yourself and avoid a bad situation before it happens.