By Shady Gutierrez, Domestic Violence Victim Advocate
and Kristy Garcia, Family Advocacy Program
USAG Stuttgart Army Community Service
The garrison’s Family Advocacy Program, or FAP, wants you to know that February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
TDVAM is a national effort to raise awareness about dating violence, promote programs that support young people and encourage communities to prevent this type of abuse. This is an issue that impacts not only youth, but their parents, teachers, friends and communities as well. Dating violence can take place in person or electronically and can affect all socio-economic status, genders, races and cultures.
Studies show that one in three teens will experience dating abuse by the time they become an adult, whether it is physical, emotional, verbal or sexual. Teen dating violence mirrors adult intimate partner violence. Young women ages 16-24 are the most vulnerable population to become victims of abuse, this age group is three times higher than the national average. Another study reports that 81 percent of parents believe dating violence is not an issue or admit they do not know about it. Dating violence is preventable especially if education about healthy relationships starts early. It is important that teens build a strong foundation to lay the groundwork of what a healthy relationship looks like. A healthy model can be used to build future relationships.
During February, FAP is in partnership with Stuttgart High School and the Patch Youth Center, better known as “The HUB,” to raise awareness. It is really important that the teens in our community know about the resources. FAP will use social media to post facts and resources on the Army Community Service Facebook page. There also was an information table located at the Panzer Exchange, Feb. 7, where teens stopped by to get more information and some cool TDVAM bling.
Show your support for this important issue by wearing the color orange, Feb. 20.
Raising awareness will allow us to educate the community about prevention and identification, helping to give victims a voice to speak up and work alongside parents, teachers and other adults to help break the cycle.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of dating violence, free and confidential help is available 24 hours a day through the National Dating Abuse Hotline by calling 1-866-331-9474 or through a live chat at loveisrespect.org.