By Tia Lynn Ivey managing editor
The month of February is the National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Madison Mayor Fred Perriman signed a proclamation to pledge the city’s commitment to raising awareness concerning pressing issue. “This is something a lot of people don’t realize is even happening,” said Perriman at the February 8 regular meeting. “I urge all Madison residents to respond to and work toward ending teen dating violence by supporting their communities’ efforts to empower teens to develop healthier relationships. I encourage community leaders to assist victims in finding and accessing the resources they need to develop a comprehensive response to dating violence and to engage in discussions with adult and youth community members to promote awareness and prevention of the quiet, but heinous, crime of teen dating violence in their communities.” Perriman read the proclamation, informing the public on some of the most critical facts concerning teen dating violence.
“One in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds victimization rates for other types of violence affecting youth and youth,” said Perriman. “Youth who experience physical violence in a dating relationship are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, attempt suicide and carry patterns of abuse into future relationships.” “Females between the ages of 16 and 24 are more vulnerable to intimate partner violence than any other age group, experiencing abuse at almost triple the national average and only 33 percent of teens who are in an abusive relationship tell anyone. Eighty-one percent of parents either believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they do not know if it is. By providing young people with education about healthy relationships and changing their attitudes away from supporting violence to embracing mutual respect, we recognize that dating violence can be prevented.”