JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Department of Health’s (MSDH) Office Against Interpersonal Violence (OAIV) has received additional funding of $15,750 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct rape prevention training in middle and high schools across the state.
People who use violence with their dating partners as adults often began doing so during adolescence. In the U.S., studies indicate that young women ages 14 –17 represent 38 percent of those victimized by date rape, but both girls and boys can be victims and perpetrators of abuse. Nationally, studies also show that among students currently dating, 59 percent have experienced physical violence and 96 percent have experienced psychological or emotional abuse.
The evidence-based “Safe Dates” training will be conducted by Mississippi’s 10 Rape Crisis Centers and will work with one pilot school in each region, helping students to:
- Understand what constitutes healthy versus abusive relationships
- Identify and discuss dating abuse, its causes and consequences
- Provide skills and resources to help themselves or friends in abusive dating relationships
- Develop healthy relationships, including positive communications, anger management and conflict resolution
According to researchers at “Safe Dates”, students who participated in the training have been shown to have fewer rape issues five years after completing the training than students without training. The CDC funded training program has resulted in a 56 percent to 92 percent decrease in physical and sexual dating violence.
Legislators, statewide partners and community partners are invited to attend an introductory training session hosted by the Office Against Interpersonal Violence, 8:30-4:30 on December 8 in room 145 of the Woolfolk building in Jackson.
“Teaching kids, a vulnerable population, about healthy relationships and risk factors is a valuable prevention tool to stop the occurrence of rape,” said Heather Wagner, Director of the OAIV at MSDH. “Prevention is more than teaching a female safety tips, it’s about changing attitudes and social norms that support sexual violence and sexist attitudes, and recognizing myths and victim blaming.”
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