To increase awareness of teen dating violence, encourage prevention of this kind of domestic abuse, and support safe and healthy dating experiences, Col. Ron Jolly, 75th Air Base Wing commander, signed a Teen Dating Violence Awareness Proclamation for Hill Air Force Base Feb. 10.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Teen dating violence is a type of intimate partner violence that includes physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, as well as stalking behaviors.
Teen dating violence is an epidemic that affects youth in every community across the nation, including Hill AFB. Each year, there are nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide who experience physical abuse from a dating partner. In a recent nationwide Center for Disease Control survey, 9.4 percent of high school students reported being hit, slapped or otherwise physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend within the previous 12 months.
One of the most important things parents can do to keep their teens safe is to keep the lines of communication open with their child. Here are some suggestions to improve communication and encourage safe and healthy dating behaviors:
• Be a role model — treat your child and others with respect.
• Start talking to your child early on about healthy dating relationships — do it even before they start dating.
• Get involved with efforts at your child’s school to prevent teen dating violence.
• If you are worried about your teen’s safety, call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 866-331-9474, text “loveis” to 77054, or call the Family Advocacy Program at 801-777-3497.
While there are many warning signs of abuse, here are 10 common abusive behaviors:
• Checking your cellphone or email without permission
• Constantly putting you down
• Extreme jealousy or insecurity
• Explosive temper
• Isolating you from family or friends
• Making false accusations
• Mood swings
• Physically hurting you in any way
• Telling you what to do
The United States Air Force does not tolerate, condone or ignore violence. Keeping our loved ones safe and healthy can start early and last a lifetime, if everyone takes a stand to support a culture that is free of violence.
Remember, if you or a loved one is in a violent or abusive relationship, there is help. Call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 866-331-9474 or Family Advocacy Program at 801-777-3497.