SC Students Learn About Dating Violence

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Studies say 1 in 10 high school students report being physically abused by their significant other.

"It's a problem a lot of kids are experiencing," said Kayce Singletary with Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands.

Most students spend their time in the hallways, at the lockers, and in classrooms.

Singletary believes school is a perfect place to reach their target audience about ways to prevent being a victim.

"They really seem to thrive on having that safe space to talk to an adult and someone outside of their peer group who can lead that discussion," she said.

The group is helping to offer six-week course that's taught to students taking a mandatory health class. Lessons range in learning how to control anger to how to help a friend in an abusive relationship.

"We can practice working with our partners, with our friends, with our family in communicating effectively to get our needs met, but communicating in a way that's respectful so we don't have to resort to punching our partner or cussing out our partner," she said.

The partnership between the group and state schools started 17 years ago. In that time, the curriculum has slightly changed. For example, social media has been added as another tactic in dating abuse.

"They can create fake profiles even if their original profile was blocked, they can spread rumors about them they can post images that they may have of that person," Singletary said. "They can really make it a 24/7 assault on their victim."

Singletary believes that the way the course is set up has lead children to disclose dating violence or abuse

"It's a facilitative discussion. We're not going in their lecturing, and that changes the way they respond," she said.

And it seems to work.

"When we're going in and talking about these issues, then often we are the safe adult that they feel comfortable talking to," she said. "They're the only person that has talked [to them] about dating violence, or sexual violence to them so we do get a lot of student disclosures."

Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands has a 24-hour hotline that you can call if you've been a victim.

For Richland and Lexington Counties: 803-771-7273

For Newberry and Sumter Counties: 800-491-7273

You can also visit their website at www.stsm.org


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