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Home : News : News
NEWS | Feb. 1, 2018

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

By Robert Goetz 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Dating violence affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of teenagers each year.


According to Loveisrespect, a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the problem is so widespread that an estimated one in three adolescents is the victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.


Joint Base San Antonio will focus on teen dating violence and the importance of developing healthy relationships during February – Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month – with activities such as poetry slams, and “respect week”.


“Nearly 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a year,” said Angela Nance, 359th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy Program intervention specialist. “Our goal is to bring awareness to the problem of teen dating violence in the month of February and encourage people to take action toward a solution.”           


Respect Week is planned Feb. 12-16 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, said James Price, 59th Medical Operations Squadron FAP outreach manager.


“Students at Stacey Junior/Senior High School will be active participants in helping spread the word about teen dating violence prevention to their peers by posting information on social networks and creating different games and activities that focus on the issue,” he said.


The FAP is working with the JBSA-Lackland sexual assault response coordinator, teen center and the Lackland Independent School District to set up information tables at Stacey Junior/Senior High School and the teen center.


“We will also share information and resources with unit first sergeants, spouses’ groups, the Military & Family Readiness Center and other agencies and individuals to spread information about teen dating violence,” he said.


At Randolph Middle School and Randolph High School, students will confront the problem of teen dating violence with poetry slams, Nance said.


“The poetry slams will be conducted Feb. 16 at the middle school and Feb. 23 at the high school,” she said. “Students will present poems that focus on healthy dating relationships and the impact of cyberbullying and social media on teens.”


The poetry slams will also feature an information table, Nance said.


JBSA-Randolph Youth Programs will be the site of a program called “In Their Shoes” at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 21.  Facilitated by Texas Advocacy Project, an Austin-based organization whose mission is to prevent domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking by providing free legal services, access to the justice system and education, “In Their Shoes” allows participants to become characters based on the experiences of real teens.


The Jeans for Teens Shelter Drive is again planned at JBSA-Randolph, Nance said. Donations of gently used blue jeans may be placed in collection boxes at JBSA-Randolph Youth Programs, the chapel office and the medical clinic throughout the month. The jeans will be taken to teen shelters in the San Antonio community.


An installation-wide activity is scheduled Feb. 13, when JBSA community members can wear orange to show their awareness of teen dating violence and support of efforts to prevent it, she said.


Although teen dating violence typically begins between the ages of 12 and 18, advice for teens is also applicable to young adults who have completed high school, Nance said.


“We’re not just looking at high school and middle school ages, but also at 20-somethings,” she said. “We want young Airmen to be aware of dating violence and strive for healthy relationships.”


Speaking up is an important part of addressing teen dating violence, Nance said.


“We want people to step up and break the silence,” she said. “If teens know of an unhealthy relationship, they should talk to a trusted adult. We asked that parents reach out to a school counselor. Parents should also have an open, honest dialogue with their teenage children about what a healthy relationship should look like.”


In military communities, teens and parents have a variety of resources to turn to when addressing teen dating violence, including military and family life counselors, chaplains, Military OneSource and TRICARE, Nance said.