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Domestic Violence Network: Teen dating workshop

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — February is “Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.” An advocacy group in Central Indiana is helping teenagers learn how to cultivate healthy relationships and spot signs of abuse.

Teen dating violence is more common than one might think.

“We don’t always talk about what those relationships should look like safely,” Lindsay Hill Stawickk, associate director at Domestic Violence Network, said.

According to the Domestic Violence Network, Indiana ranks 3rd for sexual dating violence in high schools.

“I have heard this multiple times. I want my caregiver, friends, and family to ask me questions about my relationships and not come at it through a judgmental lens,” Stawickk said.

DVN developed “The Change Project,” an educational resource for middle and high school students to help address dating violence and promote healthy relationships.

Over three days, students at Pike High School learned how to spot unhealthy dating relationships and identify when it may be time to get help. “Sometimes people you are in relationships with make you feel like you can’t talk to other people about what’s happening. They make it feel like, oh, you are putting our business out there, but some things need to be talked about,” added Corri Gray, a Junior at Pike High School.

“We also discussed what to look for in an abusive or unhealthy relationship. “We talk about warning signs and red flags if they see it in their friends. We talk about consent and we talk about our friends and being an ally. How do we approach them and what does that look like?” Stawickk said.

Overall, the goal is to empower Hoosier teens and help them navigate the dating world.

“We go in there saying we are not here to tell you what to do or not to do. We know in our experience growing up and the relationships we’ve been in that we would have loved these discussions,” Stawickk said.