After every presentation we give at a school, we pass out evaluations. These help us get an idea about how the presenters did, how the information was received, and if students learned something. We ask “What did you like the most/the least about the presentation?” As the Director of the TERA program, I enter these evaluations into an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of how the program is doing for our own benefit, but also to provide our funders with info saying, “Hey, TERA is doing a great job!”
I was sort of shocked when I came across this comment:
“I don’t know anyone who has been abused and the people I’m around don’t abuse others…so I don’t really need to know this…”
Once I got over my initial hurt feelings (Yes, sometimes I take the negative comments about presentations personally. I just am really passionate about this program!), I tried to look at it objectively. This students’ voice is one of many!
Let’s think about it this way:
- 77% of teens who were in a violent relationship never told anyone about the abuse.
- 81% percent of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.
Ok, so not surprising that people don’t think this issue is important. Many victims of dating abuse aren’t talking about it. When parents don’t think something is an issue, they don’t talk about it either and they aren’t responsive when their child is confronted with relationship abuse. There is a totally hushed nature about the subject of dating abuse! We NEED to talk about it.
And here’s why:
- About 72% of 8th and 9th graders are “dating.”
- 1 in 3 teens is a victim of sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.
- 1 in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
That’s not like 1 in a million. That’s your friend, your classmate, your sibling, your neighbor.
And that’s something we really do need to know about.
Stats brought to you by LoveIsRespect.org.