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Dating and Violence Should Never Be a Couple

  • Published
  • By Andrea “Drey” Bowen, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Family Life Educator
  • 6th Medical Group
February marks the month of love. In February, many of us celebrate Valentine’s Day, the day of amour, in the French vernacular. How would you recognize or define love? What are key healthy elements that are important in maintaining safe, respectful and nurturing relationships? Is it a once-a-year event for you or a lifestyle commitment?  

February also marks National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control cite dating violence as a public health problem. Among adult victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner, 22.4 percent of women and 15 percent of men first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age. Approximately nine percent of high school students report being hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months before being surveyed. Victims are often hesitant to speak out and seek help.

How do we prevent dating violence before it starts? Teenagers are in their formative years of building healthy social relationships. Their way of interacting develops early and can carry over into adulthood, which is why it is important to promote healthy relationship skills early. Skills such as anger management, self-control, coping, effective and open communication are important. Additionally, addressing gender roles, expectations and cultural implications are necessary in building positive relationships. What is acceptable and what is not needs to be discussed on an on-going basis into adulthood. How we demonstrate love is critical.

Upcoming events and community happenings that can help with this:

Active Parenting of Teenagers - How to actively communicate with your teens and address difficult topics - Feb. 9, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the MacDill Area Resilience Center.

Teen Talk Chat Session - Empowerment and expecting respect from others to build healthy relationships - Feb. 6 3:30 p.m. -4:30 p.m. at the Youth Center.

H3 - “It’s All About Me” healthy choices, healthy living and healthy generations - Feb.7 & March 7 at The MacDill Area Resilience Center.

Proclamation Signing by Hillsborough County Commissioner Feb. 13, 3 p.m. at the Youth Center.

Orange Day - Wear something orange to show awareness of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month on Feb. 14.


Commissary “Love is Sweet” give away goodies and resource booth Feb. 14th 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.


Expect Respect Summit 2017 and Art Contest with The Spring of Tampa Bay - Feb. 24 - at The University Area Community Center, 14013 N. 22nd Street A. Tampa, Fla., Free Event 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.


Contact Family Advocacy with any questions or more information 813-827-9172.