While everyone in the society knows about the gravity of domestic violence, a subject accorded much importance in popular media, what often goes unnoticed is dating violence, especially the cases involving adolescents. Commonly referred as teen dating violence (TDV), it is a reality that entails much pain and agony for victims, who need attention and help. According to the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, in the United States alone, 10 percent high school students reported physical or sexual victimization from their dating partners in the past year.
Keeping in mind the need to raise awareness about this trend that may turn macabre at times, two former students of Franklin High School (FHS), Nebraska – Cora Welton and Taylor Wilson – started a project to address TDV three years ago. The duo, together with Kelly Simmons, who supported them as their guidance counselor, conducted a class once a week at the FHS. There is usually very less talk about TDV, so the FHS alumni wanted to apprise the students of the warning signals to encourage them to reach out for help.
After the duo graduated and their counselor moved to another school, the National Honor Society picked up the thread from where they had left and kept the project running. The society has even started selling Teen Dating Violence Awareness T-shirts for $10 so that students and community members can wear them during basketball game all through the ongoing Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. They will also have a banner during the game and persuade people to sign and pledge their support.
In spite of the prevalence of TDV, it is well known that three out of four parents have never talked to their teens about the issue. With the aim to disseminate knowledge about this practice, February is observed as the Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. The monthlong observance intends to highlight the frequency of TDV, promote activities that raise awareness, and encourage individuals and communities to come forward, join hands, and work towards reducing the practice.
All these steps would definitely help the cause and raise the level of awareness about a dormant topic like TDV. This is undeniably a commendable effort by the students from FHS. The students collated information from online sites and worked the Safe Center in Kearney to understand the various ways of spreading awareness and educating fellow students. They were always ready to help people who were in an abusive relationship.
Dating violence and mental health
One immediate effect of dating violence is psychological turmoil, depending on the severity and duration of the abuse. The traumatized victim often goes into his or her shell not knowing how to react or whom to confide in. If not addressed at the earliest, it could snowball into a bigger emotional problem affecting other areas of life. The only way to deal with mental disorders is to seek intervention at the earliest. Most psychological problems can be cured with timely treatment from a credible rehab.
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