By Alison Stanton —
Every month, Teen Strong features one or two community programs and/or organizations that are making a difference in the lives of teenagers. Since October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we wanted to feature Theresa’s Fund/DomesticShelters.org and let you know about the important work that they do.
Q: Please tell us about Theresa’s Fund and DomesticShelters.org.
A: We are the first and largest online and mobile searchable directory of domestic violence programs and shelters in the U.S. and Canada, and a leading source of helpful tools and information for people experiencing and working to end domestic violence. Our mission is simple: make more people aware of the services available for those experiencing domestic violence and make it faster and easier for victims of domestic violence and their friends/family, as well as program and shelter providers, to quickly find services and information best suited to their location, language and needs.
Q: How can DomesticShelters.org help teenager girls who are being abused to get the help that they need?
A: If you or a friend are suffering from physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse or verbal abuse, we can help. Instead of spending hours on your smartphones or a computer searching the Internet, our website contains information on 24-hour hotlines, emergency services, support groups and much more. Our service is also completely free to use.
Q: What are the domestic violence statistics for Arizona?
A: While you might think that domestic violence happens more often between older adults, the most common age for violence to occur is between 18 and 24. For women, the next most common age range is between 11 and 17 years of age. Research has found that teens report a high occurrence of abusive dating behaviors including controlling behavior and physical and/or sexual abuse.
Q: What is one of the most important things that you would like teenagers in Arizona to know about domestic violence?
A: If you are being abused by someone who you are dating, please tell your parents and/or another trusted adult like a grandparent, aunt or uncle, teacher, someone from your church or a school counselor. If you are worried that you are dating someone who is abusive, your mom and/or dad or other trusted adult may be your best allies and help you get out of the relationship. Because it can be hard to bring up this difficult topic, try to find a time and place where you are comfortable—let your folks know that you want to speak with them privately and ask that younger siblings are not in the room. If you are worried about how they will react, you can let your parents or other adult know in the morning a little bit of information about what you want to discuss, and then bring it up again later on that day—this way, they will have an idea of what you will be talking about and they can be calm and ready to hear what you have to say.
Source: Paul Denial, President/CEO of Theresa’s Fund/DomesticShelters.org. For more information about DomesticShelters.org, please visit www.domesticshelters.org