Often times we don’t hear or see the silent cries for help from teenagers, and that can affect them in major ways in the short and long term. What any parent wants more than anything is to be able to protect their child from anyone that may harm or be harmed. That is why it is important to be informed about the statistics of it, warning signs and awareness programs in the area, and the Atascosa Family Crisis Center wants the members of Atascosa County to know that there are many ways to help out their teens.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month (TDV) and there are many activities taking place worldwide to spread awareness via social media and in our community.
Here are a few statistics of teen dating violence from breakthecycle.org: One in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of emotional, verbal or physical abuse from their partner. Teens who experience it are more prone to use alcohol and drugs, are at a greater risk for suicide and likely to carry on patterns of abuse in future relationships. One in ten high school students is purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by their boyfriend or girlfriend. Females between the ages of 16-24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence. However, there are some early warning signs of TDV for parents to be aware of when it comes to protecting their teens: extreme mood swings, isolation (from friends or keeping their partner away from others), unexplained physical harm, bad grades (due to the distractions of their own relationship problems) and sexual activity (from fear of rejection or saying no). Early intervention is the best way to prevent this cycle from happening in future relationships. As a result, Atascosa Family Crisis Center has been working hard throughout the county to make sure people are aware of this growing violence amongst teenagers.
“I am attending the council meetings in each town and the mayor will be reading off the proclamation,” said Shawnene Heather of AFCC. “We have invited students from the schools to attend as well.”
The proclamation states more statistics about teen dating violence and that education programs will be made available for students. It also declares February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in the county, as it is nationwide.
On January 22, during the Commisioners’ Court meeting, Atascosa County Judge Bob Hurley read the proclamation and signed it along with Commissioners Mark Gillespie, William Torans, Eliseo Perez and Bill Carroll. The AFCC will also be holding class visits throughout the districts in Atascosa County. They will be at Pleasanton during the school day on February 6 and 7 and it is encouraged that parents talk to their children about the importance of attending. In addition, social media events will also be taking place nationwide to spread awareness of TDV. February 10 is “Chalk About Love” in which you write in chalk on a board, sidewalk, anywhere about what love means to you and post it on social media using the hashtag “#ChalkAboutLove”.
February 13 is “Wear Orange for Love Day” marking Teen Dating Violence Awareness Day in which you are encouraged to wear orange to help spread awareness. Another event going on throughout the month is known as “It’s Time To Talk Day” in which parents sit down with their children and talk about teen dating violence with them so that they can be aware of it. The Atascosa Family Crisis Center and the Pleasanton Express want you to be aware of teen dating violence. If you are a victim of abuse or know of someone who is and needs help, you can call the Atascosa Family Crisis Center at 830-569-2001 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-866-331-9474. You can also visit breakthecycle.org and teendvmonth.org for more information about Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month.