In honor of the National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness month of February, Pearl Crisis Center conducted a poster contest in Milaca, Princeton and Onamia high schools.
Students in each school were given almost the entire month of February to create a poster around the theme “Love Shouldn’t Hurt.” Students and staff were then given the opportunity to vote for their favorite creation. Winners were announced at the end of the month in each school. Each winner received a prize. First place earned $50, second place won $25, and third place received $10.
According to Pearl, one in three adolescents in the U.S. will be a victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse from a dating partner. Nearly 80 percent of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser. And two-thirds of teens who are in an abusive relationship never tell anyone about the abuse. “It’s time to shine a light on this issue,” said Tearza Jones, Pearl’s TADA coordinator. “Recognizing abuse in a relationship can be difficult, especially for teens.”
Jones said there are many types of abuse that young people may believe are normal in a relationship.
“Even though teen relationships may be different from adult relationships, teens can experience the same types of abuse,” she said. “Teens also face unique obstacles if they decide to get help. They may not have money, transportation or a safe place to go. They may also concerns about confidentiality with many adults obligated to make reports to police, parents and/or child protective services.”
Jones said the following include ways people can help:
•Encourage legislators to introduce laws that require teen dating violence education in the classroom. Teens spend the majority of their time in school or at school-related activities and without laws in place to protect them, domestic and sexual violence among teens will continue to cause upheaval at home and at school.
•Know the laws in Minnesota.
•Take the time to educate yourself and others about teen dating violence. The following websites offer information about teen dating violence and what you can do to help: www.breakthecycle.org, www.loveisrespect.org and www.thesafespace.org.