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Letter - In recognition of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Preparedness Week

To the editor:

As a parent of a teenaged daughter, I, like most parents, pray that she enjoys a life free from violence on women and their children. However, I would be naive to believe that my daughter has to wait until she is an adult before she may encounter forms of abuse while she is dating in high school.

In recognition of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Preparedness Week, I would like to provide some of the disturbing facts surrounding teen dating violence. It is estimated that 1 in 3 female teenagers fear for their physical safety; 1 in 2 teenagers in a serious relationship compromise their personal beliefs to please their partner; 1 in 5 teenagers have reported being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner; 29 percent of teenaged girls have engaged in a sexual relationships they did not desire; and, 72 percent of teenagers have received unwanted e-mail or text exceeding 10 per hour by a partner checking on them.

Please join me in ensuring that we, as parents, understand the tremendous potential for dating violence in teenagers. Yes, we still have to talk to them about drugs, drinking and driving and sexual activities, but let's not underestimate the effect that an abusive relationship can have on an adolescent girl. While we realize how teenagers "live and die" with each relationship, let's not allow it to become a reality.

For more information about dating violence or family violence in general, please visit the Rockdale County Task Force to Prevent Family Violence Web site at rockdaleaware.org. In the event you would like to assist in this effort, please complete the volunteer form on the Web site or contact my office at 770-929-4020.

Sincerely,

Nancy N. Bills

Rockdale County State Court judge and mother

Conyers