Relationships, dating violence presented to health students

Washington Township health students were presented with statistics and advice on relationships and dating violence

Sexual violence prevention specialist Sapphire Henry from the Center for Family Services in Glassboro, addresses WTHS health students.

“You can’t do everything, but you can do something.”

This was the important message that Sapphire Henry from the Center for Family Services-SERV shared with Washington Township 10 and 12 grade health students during a presentation on dating violence and healthy relationships on March 13.

Arranged by WTHS Student Assistance Counselor Heather Petolicchio, the presentation included eye-opening statistics related to forms of dating violence, such as physical, emotional, digital and sexual.

Statistics state one in three adolescents is a victim of abuse, one in four high school girls has been a victim of physical or sexual abuse, two out of three teenagers in abusive relationships keep the abuse a secret and 33 percent of teenagers have witnessed an act of dating violence

Henry urged the students to assess situations that they encounter and, if they consider it to be an unsafe situation, to refrain from being a bystander. Instead, she encouraged them to intervene by being direct, being a distraction and/or delegating to an adult or authority. Students were encouraged to access the 24-hour toll-free crisis hotline number to seek counseling for themselves at 1–866–295-SERV, or to share concerns anonymously about dating violence they encounter.

“Part of being in a relationship is being able to trust the other person,” Petolicchio told the students. “If someone is constantly checking up on you, or obsessively restricting your life and threatening to hurt you or hurt themselves, you need to figure a way to get yourself out of that unhealthy situation.”