OSWEGO, NY – February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
According to national statistics, one in three teens in the US experiences physical, emotional, or sexual abuse from a dating partner.
Nearly half of teens who experience dating violence report that incidents of abuse took place in a school building or on school grounds.
Additionally, only 33% of teens who are in an abusive relationship ever tell anyone about the abuse.
And most parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue.
Teen dating abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, financial status, or background.
These unhealthy relationships are a pattern of behaviors one person uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner.
Many people assume dating abuse means that physical violence is happening.
However, abuse comes in many forms. Young people who abuse their partners do so because they feel the need to have power and control over that person – and that’s never okay.
These sometimes violent and unhealthy relationships have serious consequences for victims – putting them at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, suicide, and adult re-victimization.
Now is the time to educate our communities about the seriousness of teen dating violence and the prevalence of this epidemic in our lives.
Services to Aid Families, a program of Oswego County Opportunities Inc., is Oswego County’s domestic violence and rape crisis program. SAF continues to work with school districts to bring prevention and direct services to young people.
SAF is proud to collaborate with Fulton, Oswego, Hannibal, and Pulaski high schools to provide victim advocates at these locations so students, faculty, and staff can access services.
In recognition of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, SAF will be joining with victim services and youth advocacy programs across the nation to participate in Respect Week.
This week-long campaign begins on February 11th and will include special announcements at some of our participating high schools.
SAF is also encouraging community members to participate in “Wear Orange Day” on February 13.
This annual day of awareness helps bring attention to the epidemic of teen dating violence and promotes safe and healthy relationships.
Anyone who would like to participate can post pictures on social media using the hashtags #OswegoWearsOrange, #Orange4Love, and #TeenDVMonth.
Everyone has the right to a safe and healthy relationship and to be free from abuse.
This February provides an excellent opportunity for our schools and communities to demonstrate their commitment to ending teen dating violence and supporting the numerous victims and survivors who are among us.
By providing young people with education about healthy relationships and assisting victims and survivors in accessing the information and supportive services they need, we can work together to change the culture and promote safe, healthy relationships in our schools and communities.
If you or someone you know is a victim or survivor of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking, please call our Crisis Hotline at (315) 342-1600.
The hotline is staffed by trained counselors and is available 24 hours a day.
SAF is the domestic violence and rape crisis program for Oswego County and has provided crisis, supportive, advocacy and educational services throughout Oswego County for more than 30 years.
Did you know?
A private, non-profit agency, OCO’s many programs touch the lives of approximately 20,000 Oswego County residents each year.
One of Oswego County’s largest employers, OCO employs nearly 600 people and boasts a volunteer force of 1,200.
OCO strives to improve the quality of life in Oswego County by helping people, supporting communities and changing lives.
For more information, visit www.oco.org.
Now you know … it’s OCO!