OKEECHOBEE – February is National Teen Dating violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
“Relationship violence and intimate partner violence isn’t limited to adults,” Jonathan Bean of Martha’s House told the Okeechobee County Board of Commissioners at their Jan. 26 meeting.
He said in Okeechobee County, one in three dating couples experience some form of domestic violence during their four years of high school.
“We can bring awareness so the teachers and parents have it on their radar,” he said. “We can educate about it specifically, which we do with our healthy relationship classes in the middle and high school.”
He encouraged those who have questions to call the 24-hour hotline at 863-763-0202.
The commissioners unanimously passed a proclamation designating February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
“During National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we recommit ourselves to ensuring our society is one in which all young people can live fulfilling and productive lives free of violence and fear,” the proclamation states.
“Teen dating violence takes many forms, including physical or sexual assault, stalking, coercive and controlling behavior, emotional abuse, harassment, and exploitation. It can occur in person, online, or through various forms of technology,” the proclamation continues.
“Martha’s House is committed to supporting programs that are proven to help preteens and teens develop safe and healthy relationships. Martha’s House has a range of resources to equip communities with effective tools to prevent and address teen dating violence. These tools will help teens stay safe online and when they use electronic devices; and respond effectively to dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other forms of abuse; and provide resources and training programs that prevent abuse and promote healthy relationships.”
The Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Initiative was spear headed by teenagers across the nation who chose to take a stand and put a stop to teen dating violence. In 2006 both Houses of Congress declared the first full week in February “National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week.” Then in 2010, Congress dedicated an entire month to teen dating violence awareness and prevention.