Photo: Zorah Olivia (Flickr)
With the back to school season in full swing, the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence is trying to raise awareness about dating violence among high schoolers by taking an opposite approach to many awareness campaigns.
The prevention campaign does not feature adults talking to young people, but teens speaking to adults. Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence coordinator Colleen Yeakle says the reason for the approach is because the way adults typically handle teen dating violence is not working.
“When kids come to us, I think our inclination is to kind of take control, take over and that has resulted in sort of restricting the behavior and the activities of the teen,” she says. “No teenager wants that. They want help. They want support. They want listening.”
According to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, more than 10 percent of Hoosier high school students say they have been physically abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the last year.
And Yeakle says abuse in relationships exists beyond just physical violence.
“National surveys that capture the broader spectrum of emotional abuse, psychological abuse and technological forms of abuse report rates as high as 50 percent,” she says.
Yeakle says adults need to step in not just when there is physical violence. She says emotional abuse takes a toll of its own and can often escalate to physical abuse.