CONTACT: Carol Schliesinger
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SAN ANTONIO (Feb. 1, 2021) — February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and the Metro Health Violence Prevention Division, in partnership with The Rape Crisis Center, SAPD, and Metro Health's Project Worth, launched a social media campaign to share red flags associated with teen dating violence as well as green flags associated with healthy relationships.
"Our culture often romanticizes unhealthy relationship behaviors. Teens sometimes don't recognize red flags of an unhealthy relationship because obsession and stalking are portrayed as romantic instead of toxic and dangerous," said Jenny Hixon, Public Health Administrator for Violence Prevention at Metro Health. "Empowering friends and parents with examples of what is healthy and what is not helps them address a sensitive situation with their teens and, hopefully, prevent any future mistreatment."
Teens participating in SAPD's Public Safety Corp. and Project Worth's teen ambassadors will actively promote social media messages using the hashtag #LoveNotPain to help break the cycle of violence. Early relationship patterns are important for future adult relationships, so early learning supports healthy relationships across the lifespan.
"Our continued partnership with Metro Health and the Violence Prevention Division has enabled us to be more proactive when it comes to teen dating violence. Approaching this as a public health issue allows us to focus on education and prevention rather than the traditional reactive enforcement model," said Chief William McManus, SAPD.
Nationwide, youth ages 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault. Studies show that approximately 10 percent of teens report being the victim of physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner during the previous year. Girls are particularly vulnerable to experiencing violence in their relationships and are more likely to suffer long-term behavioral and health consequences.
"Everyone has an opportunity to make a difference in their community. Taking a moment to talk to your family and friends about the importance of recognizing mentally, emotionally, and physically damaging people is the first step to keeping your loved ones safe," said Nia Davis, Education Coordinator at The Rape Crisis Center of San Antonio.
Everyone can make a difference to help prevent teen dating violence. Reach out to youth in your life and discuss the red flags of dating violence and examples of what makes a healthy relationship. For some examples, visit www.sanantonio.gov/LoveIs.
Teens or parents who could benefit from speaking to an advocate can connect with the National Dating Abuse Helpline, a National Domestic Violence Hotline project, at 1-866-331-9474, by texting "loveis" to 77054, or through live chat at www.loveisrespect.org.
For anyone you know that might benefit from speaking to a Rape Crisis Center Counselor, please call (210) 349-7272 or visit our website to view trainings offered at www.rapecrisis.com/events. You can also follow The Rape Crisis on Facebook: The Rape Crisis Center, Instagram: @rccsanantonio, Twitter: @SARapeCrisisCtr, and LinkedIn: The Rape Crisis Center.
To learn more about Metro Health's Violence Prevention initiatives, click HERE.
To learn more about San Antonio Police Department Victims Advocacy Services, click HERE.