New Soroptimist White Paper and Bookmark Support National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week

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In support of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week, February 2-6, Soroptimist has released a white paper on the topic, as well as a bookmark that helps teens recognize the differences between healthy and abusive relationships.

Parents especially need to look at warning signs explained in our white paper and listed on our bookmark. The public as a whole can no longer ignore this because it is impacting too many teens today--especially young women--who are victims of violence that goes unacknowledged and unreported. Perhaps worse is the lifetime cycle of abuse that is often established during these years.

As many as one-third of teens in the United States experience some form of abuse in their romantic dating relationships, according to a new white paper recently released by Soroptimist, an international volunteer organization for business and professional women headquartered in Philadelphia.

The white paper, "Teen Dating Violence" provides an in-depth look at the many abuse issues teens face and is being made public on the Soroptimist website http://www.soroptimist.org in support of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week, Feb. 2-6, first declared by Congress in 2006. Soroptimist also has created a bookmark for its club members to distribute to raise awareness about teen dating violence.

"Teen dating violence is a hidden epidemic that is growing at an alarming rate," said Soroptimist Executive Director Leigh Wintz, CAE. "It is estimated that 33 percent of teenage girls have experienced physical violence at the hands of a dating partner and that young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rates of relationship violence. What is even more disturbing is that too often parents and teachers are unaware of this abuse."

While physical abuse is part of teen dating violence--sexual, verbal and emotional abuse are also used to gain power and maintain control over a dating partner, according to the white paper. In addition, more teens are using technological devices, such as cell phones and computers, to abuse and/or control partners in dating relationships.

Teen dating violence also is impacting a younger number of teens --or tweens--those ages 11 to 14, according to a study commissioned by Liz Claiborne, Inc. Research indicates that dating relationships and dating violence and abuse start by age 11, much earlier than previously thought. This early dating, coupled with sexual activity, appears to fuel extremely high levels of dating violence and abuse during teen years.

Girls who experience teen dating violence tend to have health-related issues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, eating disorders and depression. Many even attempt suicide. Often, these girls carry patterns of violence into future relationships.

The Soroptimist white paper examine these concerns and the bookmark lists characteristics of a healthy relationship on one side, dangerous traits on the other, along with prevention hotline numbers. Soroptimist clubs will be distributing them in schools and other teen-centered locations.

"During National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week, and throughout the year, we need to raise awareness about this crucial issue," Wintz added. "Parents especially need to look at warning signs explained in our white paper and listed on our bookmark. The public as a whole can no longer ignore this because it is impacting too many teens today--especially young women--who are victims of violence that goes unacknowledged and unreported. Perhaps worse is the lifetime cycle of abuse that is often established during these years."

Read the white paper: Read the white paper

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa., Soroptimist is an international volunteer women's organization offering programs that improve social and economic conditions for women and girls. Its major program, the Soroptimist Women's Opportunity Awards, provides cash grants for women seeking to improve their lives with the help of additional education and training. Each year, more than $1 million is disbursed to deserving women through this award-winning program. Soroptimist, a 501(c )(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs, also sponsors the Live Your Dream campaign in recognition of the power of women and their dreams. Visit the campaign's online home at: http://www.liveyourdreamcampaign.org. For more information on how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, visit http://www.soroptimist.org.

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