Survey: 30 percent of Truckee/Tahoe students report being in unhealthy relationship
January 12, 2010
TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212;-The statistics are sobering.
Last year, nearly 30 percent of high school students in Truckee and North Lake Tahoe who were surveyed about dating violence reported having been in an unhealthy relationship and#8212; and 83 percent reported knowing someone who was in an unhealthy relationship, according to Tahoe Womenand#8217;s Services Prevention Program survey of 112 students.
The numbers mirror national statistics, with one in three teens reporting some kind of abuse in their romantic ties.
Jessica Linn, TWS childrenand#8217;s program manager in Incline Village, said staff sees numerous cases of teen abuse and violence each week, as well as a dozen or more referrals per year for teen victims of dating violence or sexual assault by a peer.
and#8220;One trend that TWS has been seeing is girls engaged in online relationships with older men from other cities,and#8221; Linn said. and#8220;Often, the girls donand#8217;t consider how dysfunctional and unhealthy it is for an older man to be looking for a relationship online with a teenager 10 years younger.and#8221;
Another trend is when teenage girls are either pressured or manipulated in sexual relationships by their boyfriend or friend. Statistically, that translates to one-in-four girls who have been pressured into a sexual relationship, she said.
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Nancy Ramsey, program director for the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition in Grass Valley, administers programs to teach local youth how to have healthy relationships.
and#8220;Itand#8217;s everything from shoving to sexual coercion to birth control sabotage,and#8221; she said, adding emotional violence is facilitated by the technology beloved by all teens.
Electronic monitoring by cell phone is common, Ramsey said.
and#8220;Oh, he really loves me, he calls me every 15 minutes,and#8221; Ramsey said. and#8220;Iand#8217;ll see a girl in my office, and in an hour, he may have texted 50 times. Then it becomes, does he really love me or is he just checking up on me?and#8221;
At TWS, a prevention program is in place where staff visits classes K-12, focusing on TWS focuses on healthy relationships, sexual assault, domestic violence and sexual harassment at the middle and high schools.
In Western Nevada County, Ramseyand#8217;s coalition is participating in a new initiative that will involve a broad cross-section of county educators, law enforcement entities and community groups to increase awareness and collectively work to stop teen dating violence.
The School Training, Outreach and Policy (STOP) Teen Dating Violence Initiative is the brainchild of the California Womenand#8217;s Law Center, which is working with the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools, Nevada County Probation, its Victim/Witness Assistance Center, Nevada County District Attorney, TWS and the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition.
School superintendents, administrators, counselors and community providers have been invited to a training session to discuss legal responsibilities and to establish a network between the schools and the service providers. The training is from noon to 4 p.m. on Jan. 20 at the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City.
Those who attend will leave the half-day session with a model policy in hand to take back to their schools to discuss and and#8212; organizers hope and#8212; adopt, said Rod Gillespie, program coordinator for the Victim/Witness Assistance Center.