‘Trusting senses,’ Center for Prevention of Abuse speaks to Teen Dating Violence Awareness, Prevention Month

Central Illinois Newsday

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — 26% of women and 15% of men who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reports teen dating violence (TDV) is a type of intimate partner violence. It occurs between two people in a close relationship.

TDV includes four types of behavior:

  • Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force.
  • Sexual violence is forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act, sexual touching, or a non-physical sexual event (e.g., sexting) when the partner does not or cannot consent.
  • Psychological aggression is the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm another person mentally or emotionally and/or exert control over another person.
  • Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone close to the victim.

The Center for Prevention of Abuse recognizes February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Its Director of Program Education, Laura Kowalske, said Wednesday “75% of teens say that they have experienced emotional or psychological abuse in their dating relationships. So it’s a very pervasive weapon or tool that an abuser may use in order to control their dating partner.”

“We have a 24-hour hotline 800-559-SAFE or 800-559-7233. Anyone who is a victim of abuse can call the hotline and seek services. That might be counseling, therapy, help with safety planning, a safe place to stay. We’re there to help.”

Laura Kowalske | Director of Program Education | center for prevention of abuse

Break the Cycle is a nonprofit youth organization that inspires and supports young people 12 – 24 to build healthy relationships and create a culture without abuse. It said although there are many signs to pay attention to in a relationship, look for these common warning signs of dating abuse:

It urges that if you or someone you know sees the warning signs in their relationship, text loveis to 22522.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline and Liz Claiborne Inc. launched loveisrespect.org the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline (NTDAH), a 24-hour national web-based and telephone helpline created to help teens (ages 13-18) experiencing dating abuse. Anyone can call toll-free, 866-331-9474 or log on to the interactive website, loveisrespect.org, and receive immediate, confidential assistance.

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