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Governor tries to raise awareness about teen dating abuse

Posted 20 February 2017 at 3:47 pm

The State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence is distributing these posters to incease awareness about teen dating abuse.

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has launched “Control Isn’t Love,” a social media advertising campaign to educate teens and adults about the signs of teen dating abuse and where to seek help.

The online campaign will target younger audiences and parents through Instagram and Facebook ads that will appear throughout February, which New York State marks annually as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.

“With this campaign, we are taking an important step to reach teens and young adults in order to educate and crack down on dating abuse,” Governor Cuomo said. “By opening communication between parents and their children, we also want to foster serious discussions and smart decisions to assist others in need.”

The social media ads feature iconic candy conversation hearts but the messages are controlling and demeaning – Loser, Don’t Wear That, Answer Me and others – to illustrate a common form of teen dating abuse.

The advertisements will be branded #controlisntlove and link to a newly redesigned website detailing information and resources, including the state’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906. The toll-free hotline provides help and information 24 hours a day in English, Spanish and other languages, and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 711.

The Governor also issued a proclamation (click here) marking February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month in New York State; the month also is recognized nationally.

Gwen Wright, Executive Director of the State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, said, “We know that dating violence can begin very early, as young people are starting to experience romantic relationships. Controlling behaviors, such as requiring a ‘check-in’ or knowing where you are going or who you are with at all times, are often mistaken for commitment or love. This campaign aims to highlight the types of messages that should be considered red flags and offers resources for help and more information.”

New Yorkers of all ages are encouraged to join the campaign and raise awareness in their communities:

Send a virtual valentine that explains how they will change the message and promote healthy relationships. Snap photos of the hearts – or selfies with them – and share the photos to social media sites using #controlisntlove and @NYSOPDV throughout February.

Posters also are available so schools, community organizations and others can spread the word.

State Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, “Most victims of dating violence are girls between the ages of 16 and 24, with some victims of domestic violence reporting being abused as young as 11. This startling statistic underscores that teen dating violence is a serious issue. My agency stands with the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and supports its efforts to educate teens, teachers and the public that teens deserve healthy relationships and if they find themselves in an abusive relationship, there is help available and they are not alone.”

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