February is National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month.
This month provides an excellent opportunity for our all of us todemonstrate our commitment to ending teen dating violence and support thenumerous victims and survivors who are among us. These violent relationshipshave serious consequences for victims - putting them at higher risk forsubstance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, suicide and adultre-victimization. Now is the time to educate ourselves about the seriousnessof teen dating violence and the prevalence of this epidemic in our lives.
One in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotionalor sexual abuse from a dating partner. According to the New Jersey Coalitionfor Battered Women, young women age 16 to 24 years of age experience thehighest rates of rape and sexual assault, and people age 18 and 19experience the highest rates of stalking. And more often than not, a teen'sdesire for confidentiality is one of the most significant barriers stoppingyoung victims of abuse from seeking help.It is important for teens andyoung adults to learn how to prevent, recognize and escape unhealthyrelationships both in person and online.
2NDFLOOR is a statewide, toll-freeand confidential youth helplineavailable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to all New Jerseyyoung people, ages 10 to 24. Youth can call 2NDFLOOR at 1-888-222-2228 tospeak with professionals and trained volunteers to find non-judgmental andsupportive responses to questions about unhealthy and abusive relationships,dating violence and other problems they face at home or in school.Thewebsite www.2NDFLOORR.org has information andanonymous message boards forthem to share their concerns as well.
Recognizing abuse in a relationship can be difficult, especially for teens.It is important that they, their parents, teachers, counselors and otherconcerned adults know help is just a phone call away.
Nicole Romaine-Settembrino Director of Development
2NDFLOOR Youth Helpline