By Michael P. Neufeld
Mountain Communities, CA – Unhealthy relationships can begin early and last a lifetime.
That why DOVES (Domestic Violence Education and Services) is helping spread the word about a very important subject — Teen Dating Violence. The campaign began is December and involved art projects at several local schools. During February — TEEN DATING VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH — the artwork created by students will be on display at various locations throughout Big Bear Valley.
Students — under the direction of DOVES’ Sarah Gallegos and Laura Morales — portrayed their ideas of “healthy relationship” on half of a purple heart and their idea of “unhealthy relationships” on the other half of the heart.
Gallegos, DOVES’ Teen Dating Violence Prevention Specialist, explained in a media release that the “Our Purple Hearts” campaign was designed to help both teens and the community become aware of the role that DOVES has in helping young people develop healthy relationships and to raise awareness about teen dating violence prevention.
The various “Our Purple Hearts” projects will be showcased around town in local businesses with information about DOVES programs and services.
Students involved in the artwork are from Big Bear Middle School, Big Bear High School and Anderson Country Preschool. The emphasis of the projects at the preschool focused on “healthy relationships” to keep the project age appropriate.
TEEN DATING VIOLENCE
Dating violence often begins with name calling and teasing. These behaviors are quite often believed to be a “normal” part of a relationship. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports these behaviors can set the stage for more serious violence, such as physical assault and rape.
The CDC defines teen dating violence as the physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship. It can occur in person or electronically and may occur between a current or former dating partner.
A recent CDC nationwide survey revealed 9.4 percent of high school students report being slapped, hit, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to the survey.
DOVES is conducting the campaign to help prevent dating violence by involving teens, families, organizations, and communities to implement effective preventive strategies.
For additional information contact Donna Beveridge at DOVES by calling (909) 866-1546.