OUR OPINION: Dating violence isn’t issue for just one month a year

An excellent video about dating violence, produced by students in the Department of Theater at Tupelo High School, provides sobering viewing about the frequency and variety of physical, verbal and psychological violence among teenagers in relationships.

The video, available for viewing on the SafeShelter.net site illustrates the startling statistic that 1 in 3 teenagers will be involved in some kind of relationship involving violence, perpetrated by both genders, in private settings and in company with others.

J.B. Clark, a Journal staff writer, reported last week about the emphasis on bringing to light the ways in which violence happens among teenagers, sometimes subtle, sometimes grimly overt and always intentional for the wrong reasons.

The S.A.F.E. shelter has long and instructive experience dealing with violence and abuse in relationships. Its professionals and those in similar positions dealing with adolescents and young adults in other communities and also in university campus settings, often are the first people to hear an honest account from the victims of violence, and they’ve said the statistics are not exaggerated.

The stresses and internal struggles of teenagers and adolescents is well-known, and it is not surprising that all its negativity can be carried into a dating relationship and then acted out against the other person involved.

“Unless it’s straight-up hitting someone, it’s mostly accepted by people outside a relationship and people within the situation,” said senior Megan Davis, a member of the class that produced the video.

Her disturbing observation is undoubtedly correct. As the frustration and abuse builds, the possibility for more serious consequences also grows.

The video was produced in observance of Dating Violence Awareness Month, but the need for awareness and action, usually in confidence and with assurance that something helpful will be done, extends in an unending cycle.

The behavior portrayed in the THS video production, expanded and embellished, makes popular television, but relationally the behavior portrayed is painful, damaging and in some way dangerous.

Violence happens in all sorts of dating relatonships, and closing eyes to the possibilties doesn’t help find resolutions.

The S.A.F.E. shelter in Tupelo offers help to anyone. Its 24-hour crisis hotline is (800) 527-7233.