ST. GEORGE — February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and as part of this nationally recognized event, Dove Center is encouraging the community to participate by wearing the color orange on Tuesday, Valentine’s Day.
Teens and parents around the country will be wearing orange as a way of showing support for healthy relationships and calling awareness to the stark statistics surrounding teen dating violence.
“This is a crucial time to teach our teens about unhealthy dating habits,” Dove Center’s Executive Director Lindsey Boyer said. “Right now one in three teens experiences dating abuse, and it usually starts with small, identifiable characteristics. By wearing orange, we’re starting a dialogue about healthy behaviors, because everyone deserves a safe and respectful relationship.”
By spreading a message of “Love is Respect,” Dove Center and family advocate groups around the country are seeking to educate teens about the warning signs of dating abuse. Including physical, emotional, sexual, financial and digital abuse, dating violence can take many forms and often escalates over time. Affecting around 1.5 million high school students every year, abuse from a dating partner is dangerously common.
Dating abuse is classified as a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner. There may be signs before the violence starts, such as controlling behavior or demands. By talking to their teens early about healthy and respectful dating habits, parents can help promote positive relationships in their teen’s future.
For more information about healthy relationships and the warning signs of dating abuse, visit Dove Center’s websites, LoveIsRespect.org, and BreakTheCycle.org. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, please call Dove’s 24-hour helpline, 435-628-0458.