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    February highlights Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention

    February highlights Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention

    Photo By Laurie Pearson | February 2021 is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention.... read more read more

    MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, CA, UNITED STATES

    01.28.2021

    Story by Laurie Pearson 

    Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow

    With 33 percent of adolescents and 25 percent of high school teens in America falling victim to sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse, the Behavioral Health staff are highlighting events to prevent those abuses throughout the month of February aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, California.

    “Dating violence impacts millions of teens in the U.S. each year,” said Michelle Adams, Prevention and Education specialist and victim advocate with the BH section.

    Data from Centers for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey indicate that:
    • Nearly 1 in 11 female and 1 in 15 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence in the last year.
    • About 1 in 9 female and 1 in 36 male high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence in the last year.
    • Approximately 26 percent of women and 15 percent of men who were victims of sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, in their lifetime, first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18.

    “There are many factors that may attribute to the rise in numbers for teen dating violence, such as exposure to violence in the home or community, being a victim of bullying, genetic factors, exposure to violence in the media, use of drugs or alcohol, previous aggressive or violent behavior, being a victim of physical or sexual abuse, lack of education and resources, or a combination of stressful family socioeconomic factors such as poverty, divorce, single parenting, unemployment, loss of support,” Adams explained.

    Adams pointed out that in some cases, teens may believe some of the following:
    • They have the right to “control” their female partners in any way necessary
    • “Masculinity” is physical aggressiveness
    • They “possess” their partner
    • They should demand intimacy
    • They may lose respect if they are attentive and supportive toward their girlfriends.
    • They are responsible for solving problems in their relationships
    • Their boyfriend’s jealousy, possessiveness and even physical abuse, is “romantic”
    • Abuse is “normal” because their friends are also being abused
    • There is no one to ask for help

    “Emotional abuse is the most common type of abusive conduct in teenage relationships,” she said. “Emotional abuse is reported by 76 percent of all teens who report teen dating violence. However, emotional abuse tends to be talked about much less frequently than other, more identifiable and immediately dangerous types of harmful conduct.”

    While physical and sexual abuse may have immediately threatening repercussions, emotional and psychological abuse can cause just as much damage to a teen in the long run, according to the Behavioral Health team. Recognizing some of the signs of emotional abuse in teen dating relationships can help with guiding the teen toward proper interventions and assistance.

    Some of the signs of abuse to look for include:
    • Teens withdrawn from and uninterested in ordinary activities
    • Unexpected and unexplained mood swings
    •Demonstrated fear of upsetting their partner
    • Reluctance to engage in activities without their partner, for fear of retribution
    • Low self-esteem and self-worth
    • Drug and alcohol use, and/or
    • Self-harming and/or suicidal behaviors

    “Other abuse can include physical abuse, sexual abuse or date rape, as well as digital abuse,” said James Maher, BH section head. “Digital abuse is pretty common in teens and can include harassment or threats in emails, texts and social media. Some forms of digital abuse can include the use of social media to stalk or keep tabs on partners, constant text messaging, and sending explicit photos.”

    Resources are available both, online and in the local community. By engaging in base events, teens and their families can gain an education in the methods of abuse, as well as the best ways to avoid those circumstances.

    “One way to help teens protect themselves against abuse is to teach them exactly what it is and then how to set and maintain healthy boundaries,” Maher said. “Many times, dating abuse begins with testing the partner’s stated boundaries and ignoring their requests to stop. Unwanted teasing, excessive jealousy or possessiveness, and direct harassment are forms of emotional abuse and also can set the stage for potential physical violence. These boundary-pushing behaviors are not normal, and they are not a sign of love. Basic respect and mutual consent form the basis of all healthy relationships.”

    If someone experiences abuse, they should seek help from friends, parents, teachers, school counselors, other trusted adults, or perhaps reach out to the Family Advocacy Program or police department on base. Behavioral Health staff can also help teens and their families put a safety plan in place, as well as teach them how to hold the abuser accountable.

    “Starting the conversation with someone can be difficult, but is necessary to let them know you have noticed things that concern you,” Adams said.

    “Help them identify these behaviors by connecting them to national and local resources and sharing information on healthy vs non healthy relationships. Be supportive and not judgmental to help them trust you and want to get help. Connect them to the resources like the Family Advocacy Program, a counselor, a victim advocate or a chaplain. If you feel that someone is in immediate danger and their life is at risk than you can get support by calling 911.”

    Teens face peer influence or peer pressure with things such as smoking, drugs and alcohol, having sex or engaging in sexual activities or unprotected sex, engaging in risky behavior, engaging in criminal behavior and more. They might feel pressured to not tell someone about abuse. Some of this behavior can cause trauma, anxiety and depression.

    “Some things that can help diffuse peer pressure are going on group dates instead of one-on-one dates,” Adams suggested. “It might also help to think of what to say in advance in case someone tries to pressure you. Be ready to call your parents or friends if you need to leave a date and have a code word that you’ve discussed with them.”

    For safety reasons it is important that the teen tells a parent where the date will be held and until what time. If something happens and the teen needs assistance, they can text the code word to the parent, and the parent can come pick them up, or call them with a made-up story insisting they come home immediately. The date doesn’t need to know that a call or text was pre-designed and planned for safety.

    “No one should ever feel obligated to do something they are not comfortable doing and it’s important to teach their children that it is okay to say ‘no’ and express how they feel,” Adams said. “Parents can also model healthy relationships and demonstrate how honest communication builds trust. Talk with teens about the importance of being respected, and respectful, in relationships. Teach them to use social networks and other digital media responsibly.”

    The Family Advocacy Program and Sexual Assault and Response Program offers free Self Defense Classes which will resume once restrictions are lifted. There are also some local resources which provide virtual, online videos.

    “We encourage everyone to get involved in an activity such as self-defense in order to know what to do in case of an attack, to gain self-defense techniques and to increase self-confidence and safety,” Maher said.

    This February Behavioral Health staff have some interactive events planned for teens, ages 10-17. Some of these events include:
    • Teen Art Contest from 1-22 February 2021
    • Wear Orange Day – Feb. 9
    • Teen Selfie Scavenger Hunt – Feb. 17
    • Take and Make Bags – Feb. 24

    For more information about these events, you can visit the Family Advocacy Program in Bldg. 218 or call: (760) 577-6533. The after-hour support line is: (760) 577-6484.

    Other resources include Military One Source, Loveisrespect.org, thatsnotcool.com, and breakthecycle.org.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 01.28.2021
    Date Posted: 01.29.2021 13:29
    Story ID: 387936
    Location: MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, CA, US 

    Web Views: 139
    Downloads: 0

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