President Obama has declared the month of February as “Love is Not Abuse”
The purpose of this action is to promote better understanding of the violence that could occur in relationships among young people. It’s hard to believe but each year almost 25% of teens report being the victim of verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual violence. Abusive relationships can impact adolescent development, and teens who experience dating violence may suffer long-term negative behavioral and health consequences. Adolescents in controlling or violent relationships may carry these dangerous and unhealthy patterns into future relationships.
Although this is a pervasive problem, many teens are understandably afraid to talk openly about the issue and they may not recognize how serious the problem is. At the same time, adults at times are also uncomfortable talking about the problem or even acknowledging it.
To help stop abuse before it starts, mentors and community leaders must stress the importance of mutual respect and challenge everyone to talk more about the issue. Teen dating violence is a serious issue and one that cannot be ignored. In declaring this month, President Obama is encouraging concerned teens, parents, and loved ones to contact the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 or visit www.LoveIsRespect.org to receive immediate and confidential advice and referrals.