Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Education
Teen dating violence is a nationwide epidemic. As part of our commitment to prevent future generations from becoming trapped in the "cycle of violence," Shelter From The Storm has developed a program that brings interactive workshops to high schools throughout the Coachella Valley. Students learn to recognize the signs of abuse and are taught ways in which to safely end violent relationships. Of the many hundreds who have attended our workshops, fully one-third have reported experiencing at least one incident of dating violence.
The Teen Dating Violence Prevention program is offered to schools at no cost and is facilitated by specially trained SFTS staff. We believe we must be proactive if we want to help future generations maintain violence-free relationships.
Teen dating violence is on the rise. Studies show that one in three high school students has experienced at least one incident of physical abuse by a partner. These frightening statistics tell us that education designed to prevent teen dating violence is vitally important.
Dating violence is similar to adult domestic violence in that they both occur in cycles. The relationship starts out wonderfully. The abuser is charming and loving. As the relationship progresses, the abuser becomes increasingly controlling and critical and begins to break down the partner's self-esteem. Since teen-agers typically struggle with identity and self-esteem, this is not difficult to accomplish. This emotionally abusive behavior is typically coupled with physical acts of aggression. Teen victims are pulled into the cycle of violence because after every violent incident the abuser charms his way back into their good graces by promising that the violence will never happen again.
Additionally, because teens tend to pull away from family in order to declare their independence they may stay in an abusive relationship out of fear of being alone and unloved.
Control of the victim is also exercised through acts of extreme jealousy and possessiveness. Sadly, jealousy is seen as a sign of love by many teens. No alarms go off when a partner wants to know their whereabouts at all times, isolates them from family and friends and bestows gifts like a pager or cell phone. Teens do not have the foresight to see this as manipulative and controlling behavior and are frightened and confused with few places to turn for help.
If you believe that a teen-ager is being abused, we offer counseling at our Edra Blixseth Community Counseling Center. For further information, call (760) 674-0400.