Did you know 1 in 3 young people will experience dating violence? Did you know 1 in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend of girlfriend?

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM), an annual call to action to recognize and respond to teen dating violence in our community. Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a partner. Dating violence can happen to anyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic standing, ethnicity, religion or culture.

Common warning signs include checking cell phones, emails or social media accounts without permission, extreme jealousy or insecurity, constant belittling or put-downs, explosive temper, isolation from friends and family, making false accusations, unpredictable mood swings, physically inflicting pain or hurt in any way, possessiveness, telling someone what to do, and repeatedly pressuring someone to have sex.

Did you also know, drugs and alcohol increase the risk for dating violence, and people who are victims of dating violence are at increased risk for using drugs and alcohol? Sometimes an individual may blame their actions on the use drugs of alcohol. For example, an abusive partner may say “I wouldn’t do that if I was sober.” It may seem easy to accept a person’s behavior when they are intoxicated or high, because drugs and alcohol impair judgment and affect the way a person act. However, if a partner blames abusive behaviors on drugs or alcohol, it’s an excuse. The abuse is NEVER your fault. There is never an excuse for unhealthy or abusive relationship behaviors.

Together as a community we can end teen dating violence by recognizing the warning signs and taking action. It starts with a conversation. Talk to someone today! If you or someone you know is experiencing teen dating violence, you are not alone!

Regardless of the situation, Embrace is here to help. You can contact Embrace for free, confidential support at 1-800-924-0556 or text 715-532-6976.


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