Teen dating violence: Tahoe/Truckee students mirror national statistical trend
Special to the Sun
GRASS VALLEY, 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 Women’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.
and#8220;There is a lot” of teen dating violence, said Nancy Ramsey, program director for the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition in Grass Valley.
Ramsey, who administers programs to teach local youth how to have healthy relationships, noted violence in relationships is not necessarily physical.
and#8220;It’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;I’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;
Instead of highlighting the negatives, DVSAC tries to and#8220;accentuate … what a healthy relationship looks like,and#8221; Ramsey said.
The coalition also 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 Women’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, Tahoe Women’s Services 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.
and#8220;At a time when budgets are cut and resources are limited to an historic degree, the STOP Teen Dating Violence Initiative presents a unique opportunity for schools … to gain the tools to improve protections for themselves, and most importantly, for their students,and#8221; Gillespie said.