OSWEGO, NY – February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three teens in the US is a victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse from a dating partner.
These violent relationships have serious consequences for victims – putting them at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, suicide and adult re-victimization.
Many teens and parents don’t realize that abuse refers to more than just physical violence.
Emotional abuse and verbal abuse can leave scars that are more difficult to heal, and are often left unseen.
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month helps shed light on this epidemic.
In recognition of this important campaign, Services to Aid Families, a program of Oswego County Opportunities, will be a part of a nation-wide movement to celebrate Respect Week, held every year during the week of Valentine’s Day.
During Respect Week, SAF is providing announcements to schools to read daily and post on their video screens.
These announcements will educate youth and faculty about the staggering numbers of teens who deal with relationship abuse, types of controlling and abusive behaviors, and where individuals can go for help.
Additionally, SAF staff members are encouraging community members to participate in ‘Wear Orange Day’ on February 9.
This national day of awareness is held every year to bring attention to the epidemic of teen dating violence and promote safe and healthy relationships.
Those wishing to participate should post a picture of themselves or a group wearing orange on social media using the hashtags #OswegoWearsOrange, #Orange4Love, and #RespectWeek2016 to help get this national event trending on social media.
“This month provides an excellent opportunity for communities in Oswego County to demonstrate their commitment to ending teen dating violence and supporting the numerous victims and survivors who are among us,” said SAF Advocate / Trainer Sara Gozzi. “According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. Here in Oswego County, 11% of students from both G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton and Hannibal High School reported being physically abused by a dating partner, according to a 2011 survey by SAF. Despite these startling numbers, most teens never tell anyone they are in an abusive relationship and most parents cannot identify all of the warning signs of an abusive relationship.”
“Now is the time to educate ourselves about the seriousness of teen dating violence and the prevalence of this epidemic in our lives,” added Gozzi. Support your family and friends by encouraging them to engage in healthy relationships. Speak out in your community to help end teen dating violence. Check us out on Facebook at Services to Aid Families and share our status updates and links to show you support teens and healthy relationships.”
If you or someone you know is a victim or survivor of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence 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? OCO is a private, non-profit agency that touches the lives of thousands people each year through more than 50 programs operating in more thanr 80 locations throughout Oswego County.
The agency is celebrating 50 years of service in 2016.
For more information, visit www.oco.org