WASHINGTON, D.C.—Annual efforts to raise awareness of the crime of teen dating violence nationwide received resounding reinforcement late last night when a Senate Resolution authored by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo declaring February 4 – 8, 2008, "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week" passed the U.S. Senate by Unanimous Consent.
"Dating violence has been shown to be a precursor to adult domestic violence; it is a cruel reality for many American teens," said Crapo. "We must teach our children what it means to have healthy relationships free from harassment, fear and physical and emotional abuse. This annual effort helps communities across the nation raise awareness of the destructive and sometimes fatal dating relationships of our teens, and promotes prevention of this violence."
Crapo continued, "I'm honored to have spearheaded efforts to raise awareness here in the United States Senate, and I want to thank all the organizations in Idaho who partner with me in this important Initiative, including the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance, the Women’s Center Incorporated of Coeur d'Alene, the Nampa Family Justice Center, Advocates Against Family Violence of Caldwell and the Lewiston YWCA. These organizations will continue their efforts to raise awareness of the importance of healthy dating relationships throughout Idaho, and I encourage Idahoans to contact one of these organizations and become involved in this important effort in 2008."
"The Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance would like to commend Senator Crapo for his diligent work in procuring a National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week," said Luann Dettman, Executive Director of the Idaho Council on Domestic Violence and Victim Assistance. "Through his efforts we will be able to promote education and conduct public awareness activities for a better understanding of a teen victimization that is rarely reported. We must recognize how prevalent Teen Dating Violence has become and the importance of providing teens with the knowledge and resources to secure their safety."
"Through a federal grant, the Idaho Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Project, a collaborative project of Idaho's advocacy, medical, education, legal and youth-based organizations, is working hard to increase awareness on teen dating violence through a statewide campaign," said Kelly Miller, Legal Director, Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence. "Teen dating violence prevention is critical work. Teens are very aware of the high levels of teen dating violence in their communities - name calling, derogatory remarks, demands to be always available through cell phones, isolation from family, friends or activities, pressure to use alcohol or drugs, or the pressure to have sexual contact. As a community, we need to alert teens and parents on the warning signs of teen dating violence and encourage families to have a real discussion on strategies for safe dating."
Nicole Crowell with the YWCA of Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston Washington asked teen attendees of its teen dating violence awareness and prevention presentation about what was most useful and received the following responses:
• Learning how to get out of an abusive relationship.
• How to recognize when someone is in danger of an abusive relationship.
• Knowing that it happens everywhere and you can get help fast.
• This resembled a relationship I used to be in. The information was helpful.
• I feel more empowered to stand up for myself.
This marks the third year that the Senate has passed a resolution declaring the first full week in February as a time to encourage local, state and national organizations, governments and private industry to call attention to the tragedy and pervasiveness of teen dating violence in our communities.
The crime of teen dating violence, including physical, emotional and sexual assault, and harassment via texting, email or Instant Messaging is a reality for many American teenagers. Like drug abuse, it’s a reality of which many parents are unaware.
One in three female teens in a dating relationship report having feared for their safety.
30% of teens in a dating relationship have been text-messaged 10, 20, or 30 times an hour by a partner finding out where they are, what they are doing or who they are with.
One in five teens in a serious relationship report having been hit, slapped or pushed by a partner.
One in four girls in a relationship report having been pressured to go further sexually than they really wanted.
The Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Initiative was started by teens through the American Bar Association in 2004. In 2006, the first national "week" was declared by Congress and was declared in 2007 as well. Both years, a number of governors declared proclamations, and today, the Initiative includes over 35 national, state and local agencies and organizations as partners. More information can be found at: http://crapo.senate.gov/issues/teen_dating_violence.cfm
# # #