Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month



Sherron Hedgepeth-Sanders (Outreach Coordinator for the Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney) looks on as Taniyah Reaves signs the dating violence pledge. Hedgepeth-Sanders talked with students during lunch to raise awareness of dating violence.

Kaitlin Pankowski, Social Media Editor

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Whether it is physical, emotional, or mental, one in three adolescents are victims of abuse by a dating partner. Dating abuse can happen to anyone, no matter what ethnicity, sexual orientation, or culture partners are a part of.  Sherron Hedgepeth-Sanders with the Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office is visiting each Newport News High school this month to promote awareness about dating abuse among teens. She visited Menchville during first and second lunch Tuesday, talking with students and asking them to sign a pledge that states they will never abuse their dating partner.

“Domestic violence is common between adolescents, people don’t realize it’s happening throughout the halls of Menchville,” states Menchville’s support counselor Terri Keesee. “Many students come in to talk about the abuse from their dating partner; even if it’s not physical abuse, it doesn’t lessen the amount of awareness that should be addressed.”

Even if you aren’t a victim of domestic violence, it is important for everyone to be aware of warning signs, because often those who are being abused could be too scared or uncomfortable to report it. Although there are many signs to pay attention to when in a relationship, always be on the lookout for these common warning signs of dating abuse as listed on the Break The Cycle website:

  • Checking cellphone, e-mails, and social media without permission
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Constant belittling or put-downs
  • Explosive tempers
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Making false accusations
  • Constant mood swings towards you
  • Physically inflicting pain or hurt in any way
  • Possessiveness
  • Telling someone what to do
  • Repeatedly pressuring a partner to do something

Your awareness of signs of dating abuse could help a friend and save somebody’s life.