JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
Whether physical or emotional, dating violence can leave scars that last a lifetime. Teens who suffer abuse at the hands of a partner are more likely to struggle in school, develop depression, or turn to drugs and alcohol. Victims are also at greater risk of experiencing the same patterns of violence later in life.
To prevent such scars from forming, the three Joint Base San Antonio locations will be providing informational youth-and-parent-centered-events throughout the month of February in recognition of Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
According to Emily Mueller, JBSA-Randolph family advocacy intervention specialist, Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month brings national focus to the issue of teen dating violence, highlights the need to educate youth about healthy relationships, raises awareness among those who care for them and provides communities with a critical opportunity to work together to prevent this devastating cycle of abuse.
Activities specific to JBSA-Randolph for Teen Dating Violence Prevention Awareness Month include a before and after survey, teen talks on overcoming barriers to healthy relationships, parent talks on conflicts in social media, a six-part series active parenting-of- teens class, a Jeans for Teens shelter drive, teen poetry slam, an essay contest, and table displays at the exchange and medical treatment facilities.
"Each location will work separately on Teen Dating Violence Prevention Awareness Month events, aside from the fourth annual Poetry Slam taking place 6 p.m. Feb. 22 at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military and Family Readiness Center," Mueller said. "It's used as a tool to engage youth in a fun and interactive competition where participants write and perform their original poetry."
Parent focus will revolve around becoming informed on social media and what is going on between teen partners in a dating and bullying environment online.
Intimate relationship issues among teens and young adults aren't limited to just physical contact, but also include social media bullying, Mueller said.
During the services offered for Teen Dating Violence Prevention Awareness Month, Mueller said important aspects will include "opening up communication between parents and teens, between teens themselves, and showing which resources are available to help."
A survey was provided through the JBSA-Randolph Youth Center addressing teens' awareness and general knowledge of teen dating violence and areas in the program that can change to improve the following year's services, she said.
"The survey is to show what they know now and after the program, how it affected their knowledge and also how they view their relationships," Gina Ramirez, JBSA-Randolph Mental Health Clinic resiliency counselor, said.
For more information or to register for an event, call the JBSA-Randolph Youth Center at 652-3298 or the JBSA-Randolph Mental Health Clinic at 652-6308.