Talking about healthy relationships in Tahoe

Special to the Sun

For the third consecutive year, leaders in Congress dedicated February to Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention. This initiative was originally spearheaded by teenagers across the nation who chose to take a stand and put a stop to teen dating violence; a crime that nationally affects 1.5 million high school students and up to 6 million adults a year. In 2005, the importance of addressing teen dating violence was highlighted by its inclusion in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. National recognition emphasizes the need to educate young people about healthy relationships, raise awareness and work together in the community to prevent this cycle of abuse.

In a 2012 survey conducted by Tahoe SAFE Alliance, 16 percent of North Lake Tahoe/ Truckee High School students said they had experienced an unhealthy relationship and 75 percent said they knew someone who had been in an unhealthy situation. Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the total national average. This issue affects not just youth but their families, schools and communities.

Teen Peace Project (TPP), formerly known as the Teen Speakers Bureau, is a club facilitated by Tahoe SAFE Alliance at Truckee and Incline High Schools that recognize peer education and advocacy as a vital tool for empowerment and breaking the cycles of violence. The Teen Peace Project brings awareness to teenage social issues such as bullying, self-bullying, healthy relationships, LGBTQ, depression, self-esteem and influence of social media through local presentations, projects and events.

In a school-wide survey conducted this year by the Incline TPP, students discovered emotional bullying is the most common form of bullying witnessed in their school and peer groups. Emotional abuse is the most common form of abuse and includes non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking. When referring to dating violence it is important to recognize dating violence isn’t just physical abuse, it is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner.

Nobody deserves to be in an abusive relationship. If you feel like your rights are being taken away, talk to your partner, your parents or someone who can help you stay safe. If you know someone who has been a victim, support them by listening and encourage them to talk to a professional. Tahoe SAFE Alliance offers a 24-hour crisis line (1-800-736-1060) in which callers can be anonymously connected to local resources. is a great online national resource in which teens and young adults can ask anonymous, confidential questions and navigate their legal rights and responsibilities through the website.

About Tahoe SAFE Alliance

Tahoe SAFE Alliance is a nonprofit organization established in 1985. The mission of Tahoe SAFE alliance is to reduce the incidence and trauma of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse in North Lake Tahoe and Truckee. The agency believes every person deserves to live a life free from violence and works to empower victims in reclaiming those rights by providing safety, advocacy, support and education. For more information visit or call 775-298-0010.

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