February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Published 6:38 pm Thursday, February 14, 2019

By Kathy Ballance

Executive Director

Hyde County Hotline

Young adult dating violence is a big problem, affecting youth in every community across the nation.

Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.

One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.

One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.

Being physically or sexually abused makes teen girls six times more likely to become pregnant and twice as likely to get a STI.

Half of youth who have been victims of both dating violence and rape attempt suicide, compared to 12.5% of non-abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys.


Connecting the dots

The over-sexualization of women and girls in media leads to a cultural acceptance that the value of women and girls is their sexuality, according to the

www.encstophumantrafficking.org website.

They don’t have value as intelligent, sentient beings, but as sexual objects to be used. When we are exposed to these images in hamburger commercials and music videos over and over, we become indifferent to them. It is accepted as the normal way to portray women and girls.

This acceptance of women and girls as sexual objects in mainstream media has given “permission” to darker elements of the media to take that sexual objectification even further.

Today’s pornography has moved far beyond pictures of beautiful nude women. Anyone with a phone or laptop can access pornographic images portraying women as sexual objects to be used and abused as men wish.

Repeated exposure to those images changes the viewers’ attitude toward women in general, and specifically the women and girls in their own life. So if their own partner won’t submit to the acts portrayed in pornography, what can a guy do? He can go online and find someone who will do whatever he says, because they have to. He can pay for sex from a prostitute.

And how does he know if the prostitute is there of her own free will, or is being manipulated by a trafficker. Often, he doesn’t. And, usually, he doesn’t care. And that’s how we get from oversexualization of women and girls in the media to sex trafficking.

We at Hyde County Hotline are committed to promoting dignity, respect and safety at home resulting in safer community.

In the first 11 months of 2018 Hyde County Hotline served 126 victims of domestic violence and received 584 domestic violence related crisis calls and served 84 victims of sexual assault and received 601 sexual assault crisis calls.

Hyde County Hotline provides: crisis intervention, domestic and sexual violence advocacy, human trafficking advocacy, survivor services, safe shelter, support groups, referrals, programs presentations, and participation with DSS Work First program.

We serve victims of sexual victimization, domestic violence and human trafficking, and we do not discriminate regardless of race, color, sex or sexual orientation.

The purpose of Hyde County Hotline, Inc. is to work to eliminate domestic abuse and sexual victimization and provide safe shelter in Hyde County through the collaborative efforts of a compassionate community.

Our 24-hour Crisis Line number is 252-925-2500. Our office telephone in Engelhard is 252-925-2502. Visit us on the Web at HydeCounty-Hotline.org or on Facebook at Hyde County Hotline.