LTE: Raise dating violence awareness in February

To the editor,
Do you know what can cause binge drinking to increase, make cocaine use more likely and quadruple the risk of suicide in youth age 18 and younger? The answer is dating violence. It is an epidemic in America with 1 in 3 high school students experiencing dating violence and yet 81 percent of parents polled did not think that dating violence was a problem! (Statistics from

As the Community Engagement Coordinator for Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women, I regularly speak at high schools, middle schools and youth groups educating youth on healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships. The good news is dating violence is a learned behavior and therefore, it can be unlearned. The sad news is that students often tell me that they wish they had had this information earlier as they have already experienced a violent dating relationship.

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. We are asking everyone to wear orange for love to raise awareness about dating violence. SVABW is your domestic violence service provider in Scott and Carver counties. Go to or call 952-873-4214 for more information. Like us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter!

Stephanie Smith
Community Engagement Coordinator
Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women