TCFV Kicks Off New Campaign Called “Young Hearts Matter” to Raise Awareness During Teen Dating Abuse Awareness Month in February
Teens Spread the Word Across Schools in Texas During National Dating Abuse Awareness & Prevention Month
Austin, TX (February 1, 2014) – Today Young Hearts Matter, a new campaign to bring awareness to teen dating abuse, launched in Texas to raise awareness during Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month. Teen dating abuse happens in every school across Texas and the United States. Dating abuse takes place when a person physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally abuses another person in the context of a dating or romantic relationship and when one or both of them is a minor.
This month, students in schools across Texas with the help of domestic violence service providers, school districts and TCFV are getting involved in campaigns in their schools to help identify the signs of an unhealthy relationship and help students know their dating rights.
In today’s environment, technology like social media and texting, can make it east for teens and young adults communicate, but it can also make it easy for a dating partner to use technology to harass, control and abuse their boyfriend or girlfriend. The Texas Council on Family Violence is working to make sure students are engaged, educated and empowered to know their rights and know when they are involved in healthy dating relationships.
“The hearts of the young people in our lives are precious. Teen dating violence is an urgent and silent problem across Texas,” said Texas Council CEO Gloria Terry. “We are getting our sons and daughters involved in raising awareness at an early age in hopes that they will never experience or perpetuate violence. We are thrilled to be working with local programs and student leaders across Texas who are coming up with many innovative ways to educate their peers in their schools. The Texas Council on Family Violence has created “Young Hearts Matter” which comprise posters and other materials that can be used in schools across Texas to help students know their rights when they are in a relationship.”
Teen Dating Violence looks many ways, but can involve: put-downs, extreme demands on time, intimidation, isolation, constant texting, stalking, and physical injury. Teen Dating Abuse can also involve forced sex, forced pregnancy, threats of violence, suicide, stalking and murder.
Statistics in a statewide survey show that 75% of 16 to 24 year old Texans have either personally experienced dating violence or know someone who has experienced it. According to a recent study, between 42% and 87% of dating violence occurs in a school building or on school grounds, with the highest occurrences in rural areas.
Schools in Texas can help teens lay the foundation for making good dating decisions while they are in school by applying a whole-school approach to end the violence happening on school grounds, making their dating abuse policies clear and implementing them, training faculty and staff to recognize and respond to the signs, educating youth to support behavioral change and by observing Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month every February.