Abuse can cause injury and even death, but is doesn’t always involve physical harm.

One of the most serious and growing problems facing high school students involves date violence.

Dating is a part of the process of growing up. During any given school day, students involved in a relationship can be found walking the halls hand in hand or leaning up against a school locker while carrying on idle conversations. But what happens when a date takes a wrong turn? What happens when one of the parties says “no” and the other party involved ignores the statement.

“Do you have any idea what percentage of sexual crimes are committed by someone already on the sexual offender registry?” District Coordinator of Indiana Sex Offender Maintenance and Management Bob Green asked a group of Rushville Consolidated High School male students. “One percent.”

He continued by saying that based on the number of students represented in the room the chances were that one of them would end up on that registry at some point in the future.

“The reason we are here, and the only reason we are here, is to explain the ramifications that come with destructive decisions. Just like a good decision have positive results destructive decisions could have a major negative effect on the rest of your life,” probation officer Curt Mock said.

The male half of the RCHS student body heard from Green, Mock and Rush County Prosecutor Paul Barada Jr., while the female population at the school heard from Rush County Victims Assistance Director Barbara Kuhn and Violence Intervention and Prevention facilitator Katie Sparks.

The local high school participated in National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week. A number of activities stressed various aspects of teen dating violence and culminated with Thursday’s speakers.

In a recent national survey of more than 4,000 high school students in grades nine through 12, it was found that approximately one in five female students reported being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.

The study also found that 36 percent of teenage females and 37 percent of teenage males reported that they had received some form of physical aggression from a dating partner at least once.

According to the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, dating violence is described as a pattern of violent behavior that someone uses to gain power and control over a girlfriend or boyfriend. Dating violence isn’t an argument every once in a while, or a bad mood on a given day. It may include verbal, emotional, economic and sexual abuse.

According to RCHS teacher Faith Mock, she and other instructors, as well as students, are taking a proactive stance against teen dating violence.

Mock also said that the problem of date violence will not go away by simply ignoring it or believing there isn’t one.

“This is a very serious issue and it must be met head on. The key is education and the early recognition that you may be in a potentially violent situation, and that if that is the case then removing yourself from that situation,” Mock said.

Frank Denzler can be contacted at (765) 932-2222 or via e-mail at frank.denzler@cnhimedia.com. To add a comment to this story visit our Website at www.rushvillerepublican.com.

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