By Cheryl Bowdridge
Special to The PREVIEW
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program (ACVAP) is partnering with Pagosa Springs High School in a Loves Respect Campaign.
One in three between the ages of 13 and 24 will be in some form of abusive relationship and dating abuse affects 1.5 million teens annually. Forty-three percent of dating college women report experiencing abusive dating behaviors. This might vary from physical abuse, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, digital abuse or control.
We hope that talking about healthy relationships will bring awareness to the youth and adults in our community to promote healthy, respectful relationships, in person and in our technological world.
A variety of activities will take place this month from healthy relationship conversations, a pledge for respectful text messaging, wear orange for love day, public service announcements, a show respect dance performed by Pagosa Springs Dance Academy (PSDA) students, proclamations signed by the town and county, and more.
Please join us in our activities to raise awareness and show the youth in our community that we stand beside them.
Feb. 7 — Pagosa Springs Town Council to sign proclamation at town council meeting.
Feb. 13-17 — Respect Week: Use #Respectweek2017 to promote respect week.
Feb. 14 — Wear Orange for Respect Day. Wear your orange and use the #orange4love along with your photos.
Feb. 14 — PSDA students perform at basketball game.
Feb. 17 — Public service announcements #loveisrespect to share what love and respect mean to you.
Help us get the word out this month.
Tips to help
L.O.V.E.S. stands for listen, options, value, empower and safety. If your friend is in an unhealthy relationship, listen to their story and try not to judge. Give them options and resources, such as talking with a trusted adult about the situation or calling the local hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 264-9075.
Let them know that you value them and the abuse isn’t their fault. They deserve a healthy and respectful relationship. Empower them to make their own decisions. You can give them options, but don’t tell them what to do. Consider your friend’s safety as well as your own. Don’t get in the middle of an unsafe and abusive situation.