Jacobs proclaims Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in Cullman

Cullman junior and senior year student athletes, Cullman City Schools Athletic Director Mark Stephens, Lauren Orth and Stephanie Driver from Victim Services of Cullman and Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs attend the Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month proclamation signing at Cullman City Hall on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Approximately 100 Cullman High School student athletes joined Cullman City Schools Athletic Director Mark Stephens, Victim Services of Cullman Counselor Lauren Orth, Victim Services of Cullman Child and Family Program Coordinator Stephanie Driver and Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs on Monday, Feb. 6, at Cullman City Hall, where Jacobs signed a proclamation declaring February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in the city. 

Cullman City Schools Athletic Director Mark Stephens, Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs and Cullman High School SRO John Anderson are pictured at the Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month proclamation signing on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, at Cullman City Hall. (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune) 

On the subject of teen dating abuses, Jacobs said, “A lot of times it may not necessarily be happening to you but to your friends or somebody you know. This is real and it does go on. Statistically, you will see this at some point in your life. Sometimes you can help. Sometimes you need to get someone else to help.” 

Those statistics, as reported by Domestic Violence Services, Inc., include: 

  • 1 in 3 girls in the US is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner 
  • 1 in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. 
  • Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse. 
  • 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they do not know it’s an issue. 
  • Roughly 1.5 million U.S. high school boys and girls admit to being hit or physically harmed in the last year by someone they are romantically involved with. 
  • Teens who suffer dating abuse are subject to long-term consequences like alcoholism, eating disorders, promiscuity, thoughts of suicide and violent behavior. 
  • 1 in 3 young people will be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship. 
  • 33% of adolescents in America are victim to sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse. 
  • 50% of young people who experience rape or physical or sexual abuse will attempt to commit suicide. 
  • Over the course of an average 5-year college career, between 20 and 25% of women students are raped. Fewer than 5 in 100 rapes are reported. 

Read by Jacobs, the proclamation by reads: 

WHEREAS, dating violence is more common than people think, especially among teens and young adults: One in three teens in the U.S. will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by someone they’re in a relationship with before they become adults and nearly half of college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors; and, 

WHEREAS, dating abuse is a pattern of coercive, intimidating, or manipulative behaviors used to exert power and control over a partner. While defined as a pattern, that doesn’t mean that the first instance of abuse isn’t also dating violence; it means that dating violence tends to involve a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time; and, 

WHEREAS, studies show that girls are particularly vulnerable to experiencing violence in their relationships and are more likely to suffer long-term behavioral and health consequences, including suicide attempts, eating disorders, and drug use. Also, adolescents in abusive relationships often carry these unhealthy patterns of violence into future relationships; and, 

WHEREAS, every February since 2010, young people and their loved ones have joined together across the country to raise awareness about teen dating violence through Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM), an annual month-long push focusing on advocacy and education to stop dating abuse before it starts. 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Woody Jacobs, as Mayor of the City of Cullman and on behalf of the City Council and our citizens, do hereby proclaim the month of February 2023 as TEEN DATING VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH in the City of Cullman and urge our citizens to work toward the goal of ending teen dating violence by empowering our young people to develop healthier relationships, assisting victims in accessing the services they need, creating better resources for young people in need, instituting more effective intervention and prevention policies in schools, and engaging in discussions with family members and peers to promote awareness of the issue of teen dating violence. 

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