Click the Play button above to find out how Vera House is working to educate the community on teen dating violence since February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
Audio Transcript: Stahl_Vera House Script
By Shoshana Stahl SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – With February being National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, organizations in Central New York, such as Vera House, are educating the community.
Brittany Pryor, the Healthy Environment Project Coordinator for the Education Team at Vera House, said that this month helps focus on the impact domestic violence has on the youth. Pryor said that ages 15-25 experience the highest rates of abusive relationships and one-third of all high school students are in or have been in an abusive relationship.
“When we look at the numbers, those are high numbers, especially for our youth. People believe that this is just an adult problem but that can’t be a process anymore. It has to be that this is a problem at a community level and it reaches so many different people at so many different ages,” Pryor said.
She also believes that we have to look at how we are handling responses to situations with “boys will be boys” or “they’re just young” to help fix the problem. Having difficult conversations with the youth is something that needs to be done to educate and address the prominence of teen dating violence.
“The starting piece of prevention is having these conversations with our youth and recognizing that they are old enough for these conversations,” said Pryor.
Vera House is sponsoring a social media campaign throughout February to help educate the youth and the community. The social media accounts will be posting statistics and articles on teen dating violence. Social media is such a strong part of today’s society but this can be part of the problem. Pryor noted how common it is for social media and music to mention dating violence and that teens are exposed to it every day through these platforms.
The community can get involved in the prevention of teen dating violence as well. Pryor mentioned that schools can run their own social media campaigns or reach out to Vera House to host events about the issue.
If you feel like you are in an abusive relationship, you can call Vera House’s crisis and support line at 315-468-3260. Vera House also offers a multitude of counseling and other services.
“Our programs are very widespread so if anybody is looking for education programs, it definitely is something that Vera House offers. If it’s advocacy that someone needs, we have an advocacy program. If there is someone that needs counseling service, we also have our counseling service program. All of our services are free of charge,” Pryor said.