Dating Violence Awareness Month — Starting the conversation at home
The following article is part one of a four-week series focusing on raising awareness about dating violence. February is Dating Violence Awareness month, and we hope to educate our community on this very important issue. One-in-three young people will experience dating violence in their lifetime. Locally, the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center has been serving victims of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and child abuse since 1978. Last year, HCWC served 2,269 victims of abuse (face-to-face) primarily from Hays and Caldwell Counties.
Dating Violence Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness about the impacts of dating abuse and encourage communities to support teens and young adults in seeking healthy relationships. Though these conversations are important to have year-round, February gives us the opportunity to shine a light on dating abuse and inspire conversations about healthy relationships in order to stop violence before it starts.
Youth are constantly receiving message about relationships — from TV shows, music, movies, social media, and their peers. With the passing of Senate Bill 9 during the past legislative session — which requires public schools to provide education about dating violence, sexual violence, and child abuse — youth are gaining the opportunity to learn about the dynamics of healthy and unhealthy relationships while they are in school.
While adults cannot control all of the messaging youth take in about relationships, they can make a difference in ensuring that youth learn the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors from adults at home.
• Have conversations about how they want to be treated in a relationship and how they want to treat someone else.
• Highlight the importance of consent, boundaries, and mutual respect in their relationships.
• Model the behaviors in your interactions in the home so they can see healthy relationship behaviors in action.
• If you need some support in getting these conversations started, visit HCWC’s educational website, StopTheHurt.org, for articles, quizzes, and other resources for youth and adults.
We are committed to providing free, safe, and confidential services to victims of dating violence. If you are experiencing dating violence, please call our HELPLine 24/7 at 512-396-4357. HCWC’s Counseling & Resource Center has a counselor specifically focused on Dating Violence and our Prevention Educators are available to presentations and education about dating violence.