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The Retreat Seeks To Educate Teens On Dating Abuse

The series will kick off in Flanders on Tuesday.

With an eye toward raising awareness about teen dating violence, The Retreat of East Hampton, and Southampton Town's youth bureau have teamed up toward providing answers.

The new partnership presents "Safe Dates," a 10-week dating abuse program prevention curriculum geared toward middle- and high-school students, with youth through the Southampton Youth Bureau.

“Approximately one in five female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.The Retreat continues to be committed to playing a significant role in solving this epidemic. Utilizing an evidence based model, Safe Dates, Southampton youth will begin to recognize the 'red flags' of an abusive and unhealthy relationship. We are grateful to partner with the Southampton Youth Bureau on this very important initiative,” said Jeffrey Friedman, executive director of The Retreat.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that dating violence can have a negative effect on health throughout life, he added. Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking, suicide attempts, physical fighting, and current sexual activity. Teens who perpetrate dating violence may also carry these patterns of violence into future relationships.

Safe Dates is an evidence-based curriculum that has been shown to help reduce physical and sexual dating violence among participants, experts indicate. Using the program, The Retreat’s trained counselors will work to raise awareness about dating abuse, its causes and consequences, define healthy versus unhealthy relationships and communications, and equip participants with the necessary skills and resources to help themselves and their friends in abusive relationships.

“This is a fun workshop series on an important topic – learning to build healthy and safe relationships. Exposing teens to this information can prevent destructive and abusive relationships and give them important skills to use throughout life," said Nancy Lynott, director of the Southampton Town Youth Bureau.

In addition, youth will learn methods for healthy communication, anger management, and conflict resolution. Discussions throughout the course will teach them to define caring relationships and dating abuse; why people abuse; how to help friends; to overcome gender stereotypes; to express and cope with feelings; how to have equal power through communication; and to prevent dating sexual abuse.

The first installment of the series takes place Tuesday from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Drop Spot youth center, located at 655 Flanders Road in Flanders. 

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