It's all about the STORY!

The Spring of Tampa Bay has partnered with Ad2 Tampa Bay to develop a statewide social marketing campaign, “i own me,” empowering youths to set boundaries and prevent violence.

LINK to full article: http://bradenton.patch.com/articles/local-caregivers-empower-teens-to-stay-safe-a735ce4e

Abuse Can Seem Subtle but Lead to Danger

I  recently interviewed Brenda Rouse, director of communications of The  Spring of Tampa Bay, who described how abuse begins in a relationship.  According to Rouse, abuse begins as a situation in which one person in a  relationship does not honor and respect the personal boundaries of the  other person. Boundaries are critical; these are the rules a person  establishes for him or herself and how he or she wants and expects to be  treated.

Rouse gives an example: “If I were a teenage girl, my  boundaries could include how late at night you can call me on the phone,  the words I allow you to use when you speak to me, the pet names you  give me, and even whether or not you display affection to me in the  halls at school. Violate these boundaries, and it’s abusive. These  personal boundaries are often violated before physical violence and  sexual abuse begins.”

Rouse explains that teaching young women how  to recognize, establish and enforce their personal boundaries is  becoming much more difficult in this age of cellphones, Skype and  Facebook and Internet communications. Rouse said that many girls who  have been abused will tell you that the problem often begins when young  men expect girls to answer calls and respond to text messages on a  24-hour cycle. There is no allowable downtime for communication.

Get Teens Involved

Teens can take the pledge “to  demand respect from my boyfriend or girlfriend. I expect to be treated  properly by establishing personal boundaries and to be honored in my  decisions concerning privacy, sex, and affection. I will not tolerate  being physically, verbally, or emotionally hurt” by visiting www.iown.me. They also can like the “i own me” Facebook page and follow “i own me” on Twitter.

Why Preventing Teen Violence Is Important

According  to studies published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine,  Journal of Adolescent Health, Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report,  Journal of the American Medical Association and by other researchers:

  • About 1 in 4 teens report verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse each year.
  • About 1 in 11 teens report being a victim of physical dating abuse each year.
  • About 1 in 5 teens report being a victim of emotional abuse.
  • About 1 in 5 high school girls have been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner.
  • 80 percent of teens regard verbal abuse as a serious issue for their age group.
  • 1  in 3 teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched,  kicked, slapped, choked or otherwise physically hurt by his or her  partner.
  • About 72 percent of students in 8th and 9th grade report “dating.”
  • By the time they are in high school, 54 percent of students report dating violence among their peers.
  • Nearly 80 percent of girls who have been physically abused in their dating relationships continue to date their abuser.
  • Nearly  1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend  had threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
  • Almost 70 percent of young women who have been raped knew their rapist either as a boyfriend, friend or casual acquaintance.
  • Teen dating abuse most often takes place in the home of one of the partners.
  • The  overall occurrence of dating violence is higher among black students  (13.9 percent) than Hispanic students (9.3 percent) or white students  (7.0 percent), according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Spread the word, and help teens stay safe!

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