In an effort to remind Mississippians that February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month, Attorney General Jim Hood would like to emphasize the importance of establishing healthy relationships at a young age and early intervention to protect our teens.
“We are committed to putting a stop to teen dating violence,” said Attorney General Hood. “With the alarming statistic that more than half of the teen population know someone involved in a violent relationship, we can reasonably conclude that either your child or one of their peers has been or will be affected by teen dating violence. I believe that educating teens and their parents about the risk factors and warning signs is one key to preventing abuse.”
Dating violence occurs among all economic groups, religions, races and cultures. According to a U.S. Department of Justice survey, one in three teens experiences some kind of abuse in their romantic relationships, including verbal and emotional abuse. Attorney General Hood adds, “Because teens may not recognize unhealthy characteristics of abusive relationships, we are charged with the responsibility of teaching them to identify and escape unhealthy relationships.”
Attorney General Hood urges everyone to be on the lookout for warning signs which may be an indication of abuse in a dating relationship. A person who is being subjected to abuse in his or her relationship may exhibit some of the following behaviors or signs:
-withdrawal from family or friends
-becoming fearful or anxious of their boyfriend/girlfriend’s reactions
A person who is abusive in his or her relationship is often found to exhibit some of these behaviors against their boyfriend or girlfriend:
-Constant put-downs and insults
-Extreme jealousy, insecurity or possessiveness
-Isolating them from family or friends
-Physical violence in any form
-Pressuring them into unwanted sex or sexual contact
-Attempting to control their activities or behaviors (i.e., how to dress, wear your hair, and what friends you can hang out with)
-Checking cell phone or email without permission
-Excessive monitoring of one’s whereabouts
For more information on this topic, or to download a brochure called Dating Violence free of charge under the forms/publications link, visit the Attorney General’s Office website, www.agjimhood.com, You will also find links to anonymous teen dating violence help lines on the website.