The second in a series of four commentaries released by Los Alamos Police Department on behalf of the domestic violence victims’ advocate as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
Did you know how domestic violence affects dating teens?
Mainstream media has a major influence in what are “acceptable appearances” and what aren’t. The messages are not always healthy or positive and often not the same values of individual households. Despite parent’s best efforts, their teens look to alternative avenues for what is socially approved and what is social suicide. The value of social acceptance can be compromising to their safety and wellbeing. Teen dating violence is an issue that does not get reported because of the teen losing friends and the retaliated actions that coincide with the reporting.
In conjunction with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Los Alamos Domestic Violence Task Force looks forward to bringing awareness to Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October by showing support of the #SurvivorSpeaks movement. We are also painting the “Rock” in White Rock today, Oct. 16 at 12 Noon until 1pm to show our support with victims and survivors. Join us, we’ll have paint and brushes. Here’s a story that was shared to explain the “why’s” society asks.
“My name is Jude, and I am a survivor. High school is hard. Adults don’t understand the constant pressure. Pressure to be academically inclined. Pressure to be the star athlete. Pressure to be popular. Pressure to be dating someone that is well-known in social status. Pressure to have friends, and a lot of them. The most important aspect of friendship is how I appear socially online. I juggled everything alright. My parents trusted that I made good choices, I hadn’t given them a reason not to.
“I was 15 years old when she first sent me a snapchat. She was stunning, 16 and socially well known in a good way. We hit it off no problem. We communicated mostly through snapchat. We went out in public too…we went to the movies, we’d cheer for each other at the home games, we’d hang out with one another’s family night activities. As far as everyone could see, we were happy.
“Peer pressure to be sexual was overwhelming. Friends were pressing the conversation and now she was. I didn’t want to, and I wouldn’t. She didn’t want to respect my choice and I wasn’t going to do something I’d eventually regret. To avoid confrontation, I sent her a message to say that I didn’t want to date her anymore. She sent me a snapchat that night. She had cut herself and said, “she couldn’t live without me.” I called her right away and we made up.
“As the semester went by, my grades started slipping and my mood was unrecognizable. I knew my family was worried but what could I say? They’d report it. If I said anything she’d only cut herself more severely. What would my friends say? I’d be isolated. I had to keep this to myself. I didn’t want her injuries to be my fault, but I couldn’t figure out the right things to say or do to prevent her self-harming. My coach pulled me aside to talk and check-in. I could see he was concerned but I was determined to not say anything. That’s when she sent a snapchat message that I had reacted to. What I felt was worst is the coach saw it too. I was horrified. My life was going to be crushed all because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
My life didn’t get crushed. It was given relief. Coach had reported her behavior. He had also called someone to help me. I got support and at that point, I didn’t care about friends knowing because there were people that cared about me and wanted to help me get better.” #SurvivorSpeaks
- 1 in 3 High School students have experienced dating violence.
- LGB youth have a higher risk of experiencing dating violence than their heterosexual counterparts.
- Nearly 70% of women and nearly 54% of men that reported experiencing dating violence, first experienced their abuse between the ages of 11-24.
- Of the 8.5% of bullied Middle School students, 1-5 have experienced dating violence.
- Among high school students that have experienced physical and sexual dating violence:
- 1 in 4 young men and almost as many have attempted suicide.
- Nearly half of the young women have seriously considered suicide and more than 1 in 4 have attempted suicide.
- Teen Online Resources:
- CDC Dating Matters Tools
- loveisrespect.org: Chat at www.loveisrespect.org; Text LOVEIS to 22522*; Call 1-866-331-9474
- Break the Cycle: Call 202-824-0707; visit online www.breakthecycle.org
- Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
- Trevor Lifeline (for LGBTQ* youth): 1-866-488-7386
The Los Alamos Police Department is proactive in bringing recognition to October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. With the joint efforts of the Domestic Violence Task Force, local service agencies, and neighboring community service agencies, victims that come forward can get the necessary assistance they need without having to make a report to a law enforcement officer. If you ever need help or would like to know where to find help for another person, these are the resources that can be utilized to begin the healing process.
The Los Alamos Domestic Violence Task Force was founded in effort to assist the community affected by domestic violence by the collaboration of multi-agency support. Members of the task force are both professional workers and civilians that meet monthly, on the third Tuesday at 12 noon, at Smith’s in Los Alamos in the conference room. Anyone interested in the joining the task force is welcome. The task force goals are to educate, empower, and remove barriers.
- Los Alamos Police Department Victim Assistant (505) 663-3511
- New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission (505) 841-9432
- Los Alamos County Social Services (505) 662-8068
- Self Help Inc. (505) 662-4666
- LA Cares Food Bank (505) 661-8015
- NM Income Support (800) 283-4465
- Youth and Family Resource Advocate (505) 670-8153
- First Born Program (505) 661-4810
- Family Strengths Network (505) 662-4515
- Hope Pregnancy (505) 662-2300
- Crisis Center of Northern NM (505) 753-1656
- Esperanza Shelter (800) 473-5220
- Community Against Violence (888) 758-8082
- National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-7233
- National Sexual Assault Hotline (800) 656-4673
- NM Crisis and Access Line (855) 662-7474
Sexual Assault Services:
- Solace Crisis Treatment Center (800) 721-7273
- Sexual Assault Nurses Examination (505) 989-5952
- NM Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (888) 883-8020