Nationally, nearly 10% of all teenagers are impacted by teen dating violence. In Florida alone, 8.4% of students experienced physical dating violence and 9.6% of students reported being threatened, controlled, or made to feel unsafe by someone they were dating.
During National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, Pace joined partners and educators across the country to teach girls and young women how to recognize and prevent the dangers of dating violence.
Pace Pinellas welcomed Hands Across Tampa Bay for an important breakfast training on the importance of healthy relationships during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month!
Too often existing systems, like education and mental health care, fail to address the needs of girls who have experienced trauma, like that from dating violence. That’s why at Pace, our team of counselors and educators work to fully understand our girls — including their unique strengths, experiences as young women, and even trauma — when developing individualized plans of care.
Heidi, Pace Pinellas’ development manager, stated:
“We’re grateful to partner with Hands Across the Bay because they’re shining examples of kindness and advocacy in our community. Especially during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, their message of healthy relationships and strength resonate with our girls and empower them to make good decisions for themselves as they navigate relationships during their teenage years.”
Teen relationships can be incredibly complicated, so it is valuable for anyone who interacts with girls and young women to learn the signs of abusive behavior and what it means to be in a healthy relationship. If someone you know might be harmed by teen dating violence, here are a few do’s and don’ts from the Florida Department of Education to support them:
- Listen to what the student, family or friend is saying without interrupting.
- Find out what the person would like to do about the relationship and support them regardless of her decision.
- Let them know that you will be there for them if they ever need you and share that abuse usually gets worse over time.
- Expect the person to be confused about their feelings and about what to do. Expect them to change their mind, maybe even a few times.
- Watch your body language and respect the person’s right to privacy and personal space.
- Help the person become informed of available resources, such as the National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline (1-866-331-9474) or the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-500-1119).
- Decide how you should proceed with informing any other people, especially if you believe the person who confided in you safety may be in danger.
- Judge the person.
- Give advice. Instead, talk to them about the choices they have and help them find people able to help.
- Ask unnecessary questions. The person sharing her experience may shut down if she feels she is being pressed to share information that she isn’t ready to talk about.
- Confront the person who was causing harm. abusive partner about the abuse. Confronting the person calming harm may put you and the person harmed in danger.
During this month and every month, we believe all girls — regardless of their story — deserve safe and inclusive spaces to heal from the traumas they face. Through the Pace Reach program, we offer supportive therapy and counseling specifically designed for girls in middle and high school in a variety of convenient, easy-to-access locations. With our holistic approach, our girls strengthen their interpersonal skills and learn coping skills that help them overcome past trauma and look toward the future.
Learn more about our Reach Program and the services we offer for teen girls.