Parents take note: One in three teens will experience some form of dating abuse.
Sadly, as prevalent as it is, three in four parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence.
Talking about this often hidden issue is the first step to ending it, so to get the conversation rolling, "NO MORE Silence: It's Time to Talk Day," a nationwide day of conversations and awareness around February's National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month, kicks off Tuesday, Feb. 4, in Manhattan.
Thousands of parents will join survivors of teen dating violence along with Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber, her mother and THE MOMS, Denise Albert and Melissa Musen Gerstein, for a Talk-a-Thon sponsored by Mary Kay and Verizon. Parents will hear from teens who survived dating abuse and learn how to start talking to their children about healthy relationships.
The first step is simply asking your teen to define healthy relationships and what it means to be in one, said Cristina Escobar, deputy director of Break the Cycle, a national teen dating prevention organization. "Then, step back and listen to their answers," said Escobar. "Try to have a dialogue, not a lecture."
When it's your turn to give advice, reinforce the idea that it's not OK if they ever feel pressured, unsafe or hurt in their relationship, suggested Escobar. "Remind them that you are there to help and that they can always come to you."
"Dating violence is a silent epidemic," said Escobar. "In fact, nearly two thirds of teens don't tell anyone, including their parents. That's why it's so important to encourage parents and teens to start having these crucial conversations. A few awkward moments between you and your teen can make the difference in preventing abuse."
The event is being held at Planet Hollywood Times Square from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. For more information, visit itstimetotalkday.org.