February is Dating Violence (DV for short) awareness month! If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, don’t be afraid to reach out and speak to someone about it. Remember, abuse can be both verbal and physical, and in my opinion, and to add the disclaimer that I am not a psychologist, if you’re not happy in a relationship, you should just end it immediately! Don’t even finish reading this article…just go! This is high school after all; relationships are not meant to last forever.
Awareness is just as important as prevention, so be sure to spread the word, because more often than not, someone that is involved in an abuse relationship might not have the courage to bring it up first. Remember, that it might make a friend more comfortable if you’re the one starting the conversation. I’m not suggesting that you accuse them outright of an abuse, but gently touch-upon the subject and see if they volunteer the information. Sometimes people just need to know that they are cared for and that they are valued and important to someone else.
There are also various programs that deal with relationship counseling, as well as provide assistance for victims of abusive relationships. One in three teens experiences physical, sexual, or emotional abuse before they become adults. The sad reality is that they will probably never talk about it, and consequently, will suffer future self-esteem and insecurity problems, as well as issues of mistrust.
To get involved, the National Youth Advisory Board (NYAB) has created an activity list for people and friends to participate. Follow the link to loveisrespect (http://www.loveisrespect.org/) where you can learn more about Respect Week which is being hosted by NYAB on February 9-13. According to the webpage, on February 10th people wear orange as a sign of love. For students that obviously must wear uniforms, you can show your support by wearing anything from a hair ribbon, nail polish, barrette, or even socks. Tweet dating abuse statistics to spread the word!