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GOP VP Nominee Vance calls Republicans champions of the middle class; President Biden is isolating with Covid while sources say Schumer privately urged Biden to step aside in the 2024 election: NY bill addresses monopolies, anti-trust loopholes; ACLU of Alabama launches Project MOVE to boost voter turnout.

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Ohio Sen. JD Vance makes an 'America First' VP nomination acceptance speech. Tough national security talk papers over GOP complexities on foreign policy. Sen. Bob Menendez resigns and President Biden catches COVID.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Promoting 'welcoming communities' key to preventing teen dating violence

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Wednesday, February 21, 2024   

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, and young people often find it hard to navigate experiences of harm.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2021, nearly 16% of Idaho youth surveyed said they had experienced sexual violence, higher than the national average of 11%.

D Dagondon Tiegs, bilingual social change associate for the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, said sexual violence is the result of imbalances in power.

"The tools that we have to prevent sexual violence within our communities is promoting communities that are welcoming of everyone, where everyone has what they need to be able to participate in their community, like school," Tiegs outlined. "So that they're not targeted and the power imbalance is mitigated."

Tiegs pointed out there are domestic and sexual violence programs across the state but more are needed, especially in rural communities. They also noted members of LGBTQIA+ communities and people of color are more likely to experience violence.

The rate of teen dating violence is likely much higher. Tiegs emphasized one of the biggest issues, especially when it comes to reporting, is young people don't feel heard.

"Young people are not likely to tell a trusted adult when they experience sexual violence," Tiegs explained. "They're more likely to tell a peer because adults dismiss the kind of dating violence that is happening with young people."

For someone who has experienced such of trauma, Tiegs stressed it is important to ask what they need and help the person reestablish their agency. They also added healing takes time.

"It's easy for us to be supportive at the beginning, but a consistent, ongoing supportive community and people who care about them because sexual violence and dating violence requires a long time to heal from," Tiegs concluded.

Disclosure: The Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence contributes to our fund for reporting on Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault, Early Childhood Education, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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