Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the YWCA is working to decrease that number by spreading awareness.
But they aren’t just working hard in October, in fact, they’re even tackling dating violence where it often first develops- in schools.
Domestic violence is not just something that adults deal with. Signs of abusive behavior actually start to manifest as young as 12-years-old.
Among high school students who are dating, 21 percent of females and 10 percent of males experience dating violence, according to the CDC.
That’s why the YWCA in Wheeling has implemented Teen Dating Violence Prevention Advocates into the local high schools to educate about healthy relationships and help students who may be victims of abuse.
“A lot of what I do is education,” said Sara Fincham, a teen dating violence prevention advocate.
“I’ll go into the classrooms. I’ll do presentations. We’ll talk about what is healthy, what is not healthy behavior. So, I see from that, that it is sort of…a lot of young people think it is normal that their significant other have their password to their phone or control what they do one social media or control who they hang out with or where they go,” she said.
Fincham said education is key to preventing teen dating violence and domestic violence in the future, and the parents should be looking for signs of abuse.
It is also important to keep in mind that dating violence can happen in person or electronically, like through repeated texting.
If you think you may be a victim of dating violence or domestic violence, you can reach out to the YWCA in Wheeling, or call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474, or the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-779-SAFE.