WCA recruits teens to help spread awareness on dating violence in Idaho

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. If you need help, call the WCA Domestic Abuse Hotline at (208) 343-7025.
Posted at 10:39 PM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-16 00:39:32-05

BOISE, Idaho — Women and Children's Alliance (WCA) is hosting their annual PSA contest again this year, where teens from across the Treasure Valley submit short clips addressing teen relationship abuse.

Last year's submissions highlighted statistics: "1 in 3 adolescents in the united states is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner;" how to recognize abuse: "You're nothing without me! Get over here or we're done!"; and the importance of supporting your friends: "Anyone you know could be suffering."

They even stylishly discussed some good things to look out for: "If you've got mutual respect for each other, that's a healthy relationship, a healthy relationship."

And while this year's creatives are waiting until March 1 to find out who will win the cash prize, the WCA wants you to understand why talking about this matters.

"If we can get to those young people and really teach them what a healthy relationship looks like, and how to watch out for the red flags of abusive relationships, we'll be able to prevent them from being the next generation of adults that need to go into shelter, or need to get a protection order," said Tracy Darling-DeMarcus, Community Engagement Specialist, WCA.

According to a recent report on teen abuse in Idaho, 24 percent of young women and 12 percent of young men report having been in an abusive relationship-- either emotional or physical.

"That's also self-reported, and so probably there are a lot of students that aren't ready to share that."

So what are some modern warning signs of teen dating abuse?

"Somebody always asking where you're going, what you're doing, who you're with," said Darling-DeMarcus.

These warning signs can also be identified by a parent, sibling, or friend.

"Maybe stopping doing activities that they previously enjoyed doing, they're maybe not hanging out with their friends as much."

Staff at WCA suggest concerned parents reach out to their child in a non-judgemental, supportive, and serious manner.

"A lot of times the abuse tends to escalate even if they have broken up."

If you or a loved one needs help, call the WCA Domestic Abuse Hotline at (208) 343-7025.