February is National Teen Dating Violence Awarence Month
This is a topic that should be important to all of us as we strive to keep our children safe and teach them how to be respectful, empathetic, engaged members of society. Here are some statistics that may surprise you.
• Relationship abuse often first occurs between the ages of 11 and 17.
• Women between the ages of 16-24 are the most likely victims.
• One out of four 8th and 9th grade students report that they have been the victim of some form of relationship abuse.
It may not be as easy as looking at your child to know that they have been victimized. Both emotional and sexual abuse are very real and very serious. Emotional abuse can take forms such as shaming and bullying. Sexual abuse includes blackmailing/shaming for sex, releasing private photos and texts to other students or even rape.
What can you do to help?
• Meet your child's boyfriend/girlfriend
• Know the warning signs of abuse
° Is your child's partner extremely jealous/possessive or do they text/call constantly?
° Does your child have unexplained marks/bruises?
° Have they become anxious/depressed or given up once loved activities? Or have they stopped taking care of themselves, started dressing differently, not bathing, etc.?
• Remain open to discussion
° Listen, give encouragement and show concern.
° Be patient and understand that it may take some time to get the whole story.
° Try to avoid demonizing your child's partner, instead focus on why the abusive behaviors are unacceptable.
Finally, remember to bring your child in for regular well child examinations with their doctor. Sometimes it is easier for children to talk to a trusted adult, who is not a parent.
Maple Street Clinic, P.C.
1825 Maple St.
Forest Grove, OR 97116