While Valentine’s Day is February’s tribute to all that Cupid offers, the organization Hope’s Door points out that February also is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. The nonprofit has offices in Hawthorne, Ossining and White Plains.
“We are educating students in middle and high school to make sure they are equipped with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves and their friends (from dating violence) during these years,” said Kristen Orlando, prevention program coordinator. She and youth educators Emily Benvenga and Shannon Sullivan have been heightening awareness about teen dating violence through Love Shouldn’t Hurt events at the Albert Leonard Middle School in New Rochelle, Ursuline High School, New Rochelle High School and on social media.
Albert Leonard Middle School health teacher Cory Binenbaum said, “The students are getting crucial information about healthy relationships versus unhealthy relationships from the Hope’s Door program. I’m hopeful that when they are ready to date, they will use the knowledge they have gained to help them recognize what a safe and healthy relationship is supposed to look like.”
In the U.S., one in three adolescents will experience teen dating violence before graduating high school and, of those who do, 33 percent will talk to someone about the abuse.