Researchers at the Hazelden Foundation report that among students who are currently dating, as many as 59 percent have have experienced physical violence.
An even higher number, as many as 96 percent, have been subjected to psychological or emotional abuse. During Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in February, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School provided its entire student body with vital information about the dangers of dating abuse.
The R-FH Student Assistance Program teamed up with student members of the Peer Leadership Club to present Safe Dates, a program developed by the Hazelden Foundation, during Physical Education and Health classes.
Based on exhaustive research, the Safe Dates program helps teenagers understand what dating abuse entails. The goal of the program is to help students who are dating now or plan to date in the future to become more aware so they can develop safe relationships.
"Helping teens to understand the importance of healthy dating relationships and empowering them to develop those relationships are necessary for their well-being and quality of life," R-FH Student Assistance Counselor Dr. Suzanne Fico, who organized the presentation, said
According to the Hazelden Foundation, dating abuse includes any behaviors that are used to control and manipulate a dating partner. Physically abusive behaviors include hitting, shaking and throwing items. Ignoring a date's feelings, isolating a date from others, insulting a date's beliefs or values, and threatening to hurt oneself are among emotionally abusive behaviors.
Modeling healthy relationships at home, building a teen's self-esteem, discussing positive ways to resolve conflict, and keeping communications channels open are some of the ways in which parents or guardians can help to prevent dating abuse.
The Hazelden Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the maintenance of physically and mentally healthy lifestyles. The R-FH Peer Leadership Club is a group of students who act as role models and encourage others to resolve problems peacefully and interact more successfully.
The Club's Advisor is Dr. Fico, who was the R-FH Educator of the Year for 2010-2011.