YWCA working to raise awareness about teen dating violence

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

The YWCA of Northeast Indiana is working all month to raise awareness about the issue in hopes of eradicating the problem.

The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence estimates 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience some type of physical abuse by a person they’re in a relationship with.

Teen dating violence is defined as a pattern of abuse or threat of abuse against teenage dating partners, according to the NRCDV. The violence can occur in different forms: verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, and digital.

The NRCDV estimates 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence. 57 percent of people have problems identifying dating violence.

Some early warnings signs of teenaged dating violence include extreme mood swings, isolation, physical harm, bad grades, and sexual activity.

The NRCDV estimates more than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the U.S. will be in a violent relationship in their lifetime.

Experts suggest teens involved in an abusive relationship are more likely to be involved in an abusive relationship as an adult. Research also finds that teenagers subject to abuse can become violent and abusive as adults.

Nearly 50 percent of women and 40 percent of men will experience relationship violence for the first time between the ages of 18 and 24.

According to a 2010 survey, 58 percent of college students don’t know how to help someone who is a victim of relationship violence.

Mayor Tom Henry (D-Fort Wayne) will sign a proclamation Thursday about February and National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Bridge will be illuminated in orange until Feb. 3. Orange is the color for National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.