Break Up with Dating Violence

Every February, Options hosts community events to raise awareness about the issue of teen dating violence through Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. This year, community members were invited to draw or write with chalk about healthy relationships during the event “Breakup with Teen Dating Violence” at the Hays Public Library.

The event, hosted over the weekend, focused on sharing encouraging words for teens who may be going through an abusive relationship. Messages written in chalk range from spreading positivity to reminding viewers that it is “okay to say no,” and that “love is not abuse.” The goal of the event was to show participants and those just passing by that there are resources within their community to seek help if they are in an abusive relationship.

Dating violence is more common than people think, especially among teens and young adults. One in three teens in the United States will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults.

Teen dating violence is a type of intimate partner violence that can take many forms. Although teen dating violence is sometimes clear physical or sexual abuse, that is not always the case.

For example, sometimes teen dating violence involves economic abuse. A teen may be the victim of this form of abuse if their partner is stealing from them or otherwise taking advantage of them financially by manipulating them into spending their money. Teen dating violence can also be verbal or emotional in nature. The fact that a victim was not physically assaulted doesn’t mean that the words and behaviors of their partner aren’t harming them in ways that many may not initially notice.

Unfortunately, many cases of teen dating violence go unreported because victims are afraid to tell their family and friends. If you are experiencing dating abuse, reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or contact an advocate at Options. Our services are free, voluntary, and confidential.

Options is hosting another Teen Dating Violence Awareness event with Hays High School students on February 22. Students will be encouraged to chalk messages of encouragement and support for their peers who may be involved in an abusive partner situation.

If you need any additional information, have a question, or a concern, feel free to reach out to Options at our 24-hour toll free helpline by calling 800-794-4624. You can also reach us via text by texting HOPE to 847411 or click “Chat with an Advocate” on the right of your screen.

Written by Anniston Weber

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