South Carolina Teenagers Learn About Dating Violence, a Form Of Domestic Abuse
The latest studies on dating violence among teenagers shows that 1 out of 10 high school students experiences abuse at the hands of a girlfriend or boyfriend. Dating violence is a prelude to domestic abuse, and now a South Carolina program is teaching the state’s teenagers about dating violence and its severity.
South Carolina ranks at the top of the list of US states for numbers of women killed by domestic partners every year. In the last 10 years, more than 300 women have been victims of criminal domestic violence that ended in their death. Numerous women also abuse their husbands or boyfriends, and countless parents across the state abuse their children. The state’s lawmakers are taking a stand against domestic violence with new laws that create harsher penalties for abusers, but the state is also taking steps to educate teenagers about dating violence, to help end the cycle of domestic abuse.
“It’s a problem a lot of kids are experiencing,” said Kayce Singletary with Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands. She has helped create a program for schools to teach high schoolers about dating violence and sexual abuse.
“They really seem to thrive on having that safe space to talk to an adult and someone outside of their peer group who can lead that discussion,” she said, regarding the in-school program.
The course is designed to span 6 weeks, and is offered as part of a mandatory health class that all high schoolers must take. Lessons range from how to control anger issues, to helping friends who may be in abusive dating relationships.
“We can practice working with our partners, with our friends, with our family in communicating effectively to get our needs met, but communicating in a way that’s respectful so we don’t have to resort to punching our partner or cussing out our partner,” Singletary said.
One recent study showed that 9% of teenagers are victims of dating violence, and that the abuse is evenly spread between genders. About one-quarter of teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 said they knew someone in an abusive dating relationship, and one-third said they’d witnessed dating violence in some form.
“When we’re going in and talking about these issues, then often we are the safe adult that they feel comfortable talking to,” she continued. “They’re the only person that has talked [to them] about dating violence, or sexual violence to them so we do get a lot of student disclosures.”
Loveisrespect.org offers some warning signs. If your partner does any of the following:
- Checks your cellphone or e-mail without permission
- Constantly puts you down
- Is extremely jealous or insecure
- Has an explosive temper
- Isolates you from family or friends
- Makes false accusations
- Physically hurts you in any way
- Tells you what to do
- Repeatedly pressures you to have sex
The Strom Law Firm Represents Individuals Arrested on SC Battery Charges, Including Teenagers Suffering Dating Violence
If you, or a loved one, are the victims of a serious crime, including dating violence, domestic abuse, assault, robbery, or murder, it is important that you take the person who hurt you to court – whether it is a criminal trial, or personal injury lawsuit. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have been based in Columbia, SC for 16 years, and are also licensed to practice in Georgia and New York. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us for help. 803.252.4800.