HOUGHTON, Mich. (WJMN) – Staff from Dial Help‘s Victim Services Department have shared information and resources as part of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) in February. The organization says the information is being shared in hopes of helping the community better understand the topic.
“Teens may not even realize they’re in an abusive relationship. Often, they simply don’t have the life experience to recognize what’s going on, or maybe they see similar behavior at home and think it’s normal,” said Virginia Lambert, Director of Victim Services at Dial Help. “Many people don’t realize that nationwide, youth age 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, so this is a very real issue and it happens right here in the Copper Country. We want to empower teens to have healthy relationships, recognize the warning signs that something is wrong, and find resources for support.”
Dial Help shared the following as part of a release highlighting the importance of the topic:
Studies show that approximately 10% of adolescents report being the victim of physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner during the previous year. Girls are particularly vulnerable to experiencing violence in their relationships and are more likely to suffer long-term behavioral and health consequences, including suicide attempts, eating disorders, and drug use. Teens in abusive relationships often carry these unhealthy patterns of violence into future relationships.
A recommended resource from the organization is loveisrespect.org where young people can learn about dating, healthy and unhealthy relationship behavior, and even take a quiz to determine if their relationship is potentially abusive.
The site also includes information for friends and family concerned about a loved one, as well as resources specifically for Tribal members. It also includes a hotline with text and chat options for additional support.
Additionally, the Houghton/Keweenaw Communities That Care (HKCTC) coalition is sharing information for TDVAM. HKCTC is made up of community members working to prevent youth substance use, depression, delinquency, and more. The group is collaborating with Dial Help and members of local Teen Outreach Program (TOP) after-school clubs to create signs and social media posts to spread the word about teen dating violence.
“Although the CTC doesn’t specifically focus on dating violence, we still want to address it this month,” said Callisto Cortez, HKCTC Coordinator. “We think anything that impacts youth is important to talk about, and dating violence in teen relationships is something that often gets overlooked in discussions about domestic violence and abuse. Abuse thrives in silence, and education is a key part of breaking that silence.”
Teens who are experiencing dating violence can contact for help using the following resources:
· Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home (Houghton County): 906-337-5623
· Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home (Ontonagon County): 906-884-4004
· Baraga Shelter Home: 906-524-7078
· Dial Help: 906-482-HELP, or text 906-35NEEDS, or chat online
· Love Is Respect Hotline: 866-331-9474, or text LOVE to 22522, or chat online
· National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
Dial Help’s Victim Services is funded by the Division of Victim Services, and their website is www.dialhelp.org. HKCTC is funded by NorthCare Network, Prevention Network, Portage Health Foundation, and Superior Health Foundation, and their website is www.houghtonkeweenawctc.com. Statistics and other information in this article are from www.youth.gov.