October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. There is a group that has a lot of great information on this topic, and it is called the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV). There is a lot of great information on their website. I would hope you take the time to visit and if possible, become a member. The reason that there is an awareness month is because domestic violence can be stopped if we all speak out and work together. Domestic violence thrives when we stay silent.
You may be wondering why I am talking about domestic violence in a school culture. Well the truth is: DATING VIOLENCE IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. According to the NNEDV website, most people have their first relationship while in high school or college. It's new, exciting, thrilling and sometimes sexual. Unfortunately, this can also be some of the most dangerous times in a woman's life. Women ages 16 - 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence. In fact, nearly 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner each year and more than half of the women who are raped are under the age of 18. Dating violence is the use of power and control over one individual by someone who is supposed to care about him or her. Dating violence is not only just physical, but can also be emotional and psychological abuse and include behaviors such as stalking, isolation of friends and family and being possessive. Since this is often their first love or serious relationship, many young people may not know the red flags or identify problematic behaviors.
It is time to end the silence on dating violence. Please speak up if you see one of your friends in a violent relationship. Please come see me if you are in that type of relationship, or if you aren't sure but have concerns. There is help and I want to help you. You do not need to take this abuse. Help a friend before it is to late and remember once is too many times.