Know the warning signs of dating violence

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    By Danielle Decker, Adrianna Archuleta and Cheryl Bowdridge
    Special to The PREVIEW
    Each year, about 1.5 million high school students worldwide experience physical, mental or verbal abuse from dating. It is known that three out of four parents have never had a conversation with their children or have given them the knowledge they need to keep themselves safe from dating violence.
    A survey taken in 2017 shows that 60 percent of students at Pagosa Springs High school have been in an abusive relationship or known a peer who has been in an abusive relationship, while 81 percent of the parents say that the abuse is not an issue. These numbers show that there is a lot of awareness to be achieved when it comes to dating violence.
    Knowing some of the red flags of a relationship is the first step in being able to help if you or someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship. Below is a list of some of the red flags to watch for:
    • Checking cellphones, emails or social networks without permission.
    • Extreme jealousy or insecurity.
    • Constant belittling or put-downs.
    • Explosive temper.
    • Isolation from family or friends.
    • Making false accusations.
    • Constant mood swings toward you.
    • Physically inflicting pain or hurt in any way.
    • Possessiveness.
    • Telling someone what they can and cannot do.
    • Repeatedly pressuring to have sex.
    • Constantly calling or texting to see what you are up to.
    Information was taken from www.breakthecycle.org.
    Knowing these signs and being able to talk to your teen about them are the first steps in having a conversation about teen dating violence.
    Other indications to watch for are changes in behavior, changes in how they dress, mood swings, and changing or not attending normal activities. If you are unsure how to talk to your teen, there are resources available online and locally. Our local youth advocate, Cheryl Bowdridge, can be reached at 946-5276.
    If you believe your child or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, call Rise Above Violence today, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hotline is 264-9075 or our teen support text line is 747-0221. Our vision is “A Violence-Free Pagosa.” It starts with you.