February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention MonthFree Access

Mayor Powell signs, reads proclamaton
Some stats listed in the proclamation: •Females between 16-24 are more vunerable to intimate partner violence, experiencing abuse at a rate almost triple the national average. •High school students who experience physical violence in a dating relationship are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, are at greater risk of suicide and are much more likely to carry patterns of abuse into future relationships. •Only 33 percent of teens who are in an abusive relationship ever tell anyone about the abuse and 81 percent of parents surveyed either believe dating violence is not an issue, or admit they do not know if it is one.

Lisa Luna

Staff writer

Nationwide, the month of February marks Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.

At the Feb. 1 Pleasanton City Council meeting, Mayor Clinton J. Powell read and signed the proclamation urging Pleasanton citizens to work toward ending teen dating violence. Some of the ways to accomplish this are by: empowering young people to develop healthier relationships, assisting victims in accessing the information and supportive services they need, creating better and more resources for young people in need, instituting effective intervention and prevention policies in schools and engaging in discussions with family members and peers to promote awareness and prevention of the quiet epidemic of teen dating violence.

Atascosa Family Crisis Center Outreach Coordinator Shawnene Heather said, “Everyone has a right to a safe and healthy relationship. We all know that, but a majority of the time our teenagers in our schools maybe don’t have that. There are 1.5 million students nationwide that experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.”

Four Pleasanton High School students, Sara Stewart, Colin Osborne, Leslie Perez and Rachel Black stood at the front of council chambers. Heather explained that statistics show that one in three experience dating violence.

“That’s scary. One in ten high school students have been purposely hit, slapped or physically hurt.  A lot of the violence behaviors start between the ages of 12-18,” Heather added.

She noted that of the clientele that AFCC assists, 55 percent are under 18. She is active in all of the schools in the school district, but wished to thank Pleasanton ISD Superintendent Dr. Matthew Mann who was at the meeting.

“I have gone to him and he has definitely stepped on board and said, ‘We want you here. Let’s see what we can get done.’

She also commended the AFCC staff, and the students for attending the meeting.

Pleasanton Mayor Clinton J. Powell (at far right) reads the proclamation for Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Others pictured are, from left: Pleasanton High School NHS sponsor Brandi Leonhardt, Pleasanton High School students Sara Stewart (NHS and Student Council), Colin Osborne (NHS), Leslie Perez (NHS and Student Council) and Rachel Black (NHS and Student Council), and Pleasanton High School Principal Eileen Grose.
Photo By Lisa Luna | Pleasanton Express

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