Coalition wants teens to start talking about healthy relationships

THE Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence launches the campaign against teen-dating violence through a proclamation ceremony at Marianas High School on Tuesday.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres will sign a proclamation designating February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness month.

“This is a chance to raise awareness on the issue of teen-dating violence,” Coalition program manager Angelyn N. Palacios said.

She said it is not just adults who experience domestic violence. “Teenagers are also experiencing violence in their relationships, especially when they are not aware of behavior that can be very hurtful or abusive to their partners.”

The awareness month on teen-dating violence is an opportunity to share information and talk about the issue, inform each other of what teen-dating violence looks like or may look like, according to Palacios.

She added the importance of raising awareness with respect to the issue is that teenagers will help identify what teen-dating violence is. “It is not just one specific image or definition. It comes in different forms.”

Palacios said there may be cases in which teen-dating violence may appear in subtle forms and young individuals, who are in relationships, may be confused.

“I think, like sexual assault and domestic violence, teen-dating violence is underreported,” Palacios said when asked how prevalent teen-dating violence was in the CNMI.

She said their program partners, who provide direct services to the community, have seen cases where victims are teens and young individuals – they are victims of dating violence.

“Yes, it is an issue. I don’t have specific data to pinpoint how prevalent it is. But one case, one incident of violence in a relationship among teens, that is one too many,” she commented.

Chaen Mendiola, a coalition program assistant, said the proclamation of teen dating awareness month is a good idea for parents and mentors to talk to teenagers about what it is to have a healthy relationship with somebody, be it platonic or romantic.

“Teen-dating violence is a national issue. It is also a good time to start talking about what a healthy relationship is and what to do if you are in an unhealthy one because you will take these ideas and this perception of relationships into their adulthood,” Mendiola said, adding they want to help teens get a better perspective on healthy relationships and help them decide to choose better ones.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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