February is a time we traditionally think of love. We give flowers, poems, chocolate, stuffed animals and other items to show those we care about our affection for them.
But did you know that February also is Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month?
Teen DVPA month is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse among teen and 20-something relationships and promote victim services organizations during the month of February. Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner. Calling dating violence a pattern doesn't mean the first instance of abuse is not dating violence. It just recognizes that dating violence usually involves a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time.
Every relationship is different, but the one thing common to most abusive dating relationships is the violence escalates over time and becomes more and more dangerous for the young victim.
While there are many warning signs of abuse, here are 10 of the most common abusive behaviors:
The repercussions of teen dating violence are impossible to ignore - they hurt not just the young victims, but also their families, friends, schools and communities. Throughout February, organizations and individuals nationwide are coming together to highlight the need to educate young people about relationships, teach healthy relationship skills and prevent the devastating cycle of abuse.
If you or a loved one is in a violent relationship, you are not alone. Help is available.
If you live in Montgomery County and you'd like to know more about what dating violence is or how you can get help, please call Domestic Violence and Crime Victim Services of Catholic Charities of Fulton and Montgomery Counties. There are also many great websites that offer information including loveisrespect.org.
Catholic Charities of Fulton