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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and has chosen the 2019 theme Huddle Up for Healthy Relationships. As their site states, this “campaign aims to empower young people to build healthy relationships from the ground up.”

With one in three teens experiencing abuse in their relationships, dating violence prevention requires action from all of us. We can educate ourselves on healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships from We can have conversations with young people about their “must haves” and “deal breakers” in a relationship, share our relationship values and what we wish we knew about dating when we were younger. We can ask them what they think about how relationships are being portrayed in songs, movies, TV shows and advertisements.

Everyone can help role model the use of respectful language, empathy, trust and support. We can ask before being affectionate or intimate with someone and respect their answer. We can provide support and resources to those in abusive relationships.

Hope House invites you to join the huddle by celebrating and promoting healthy relationships -- something we all deserve. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse in a relationship, please call Hope House’s 24-hour, confidential helpline at 1-800-584-6790.

Jess Kaehny, community education program manager, Hope House of South Central Wisconsin, Baraboo