Local library holding Dating Skills Class “Healthy Relationships” for teens

On Monday, July 31, a free Dating Skills Class, “Healthy Relationships vs. Unhealthy Relationships,” will be held from 10 - 11:30 a.m. at the Calhoun-Gordon County Library.

The class, taught by Debbie Lane, the legal advocate with Gordon County Domestic Violence Outreach, will focus on the signs of both healthy and unhealthy relationships.

The class is being offered because of negative statistics of violence and abuse in adolescent relationships. According to LoveIsRespect.org, one in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence. Only 33 percent of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.

The scariest statistic of all is that 81 percent of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue.

“Calhoun-Gordon County Library is always ready and willing to serve the community,” said CGCL Assistant Branch Manager-Children Services Elizabeth Howard. “Sometimes people are simply looking for a place to find answers and that is what we offer. If we don’t have the answer, we will do our best to find it. We feel in this day and time, teens need to be safe and also aware of what they could face in the dating world. We are offering this class to teach them what is involved in a healthy relationship, such as respect and kindness, versus an unhealthy relationship, like being called names, intimidated, controlled, hit and isolated.”

According to Howard, Lane will guide a discussion on resources for someone experiencing teen dating violence and how to help a friend.

“We will discuss the dynamics of teen dating violence, which includes emotional abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, isolation, intimidation and destruction of property,” said Howard. “We will have scenarios that we read and discuss, such as a teen hits and berates girlfriend; a healthy scenario/healthy break up; and a teen controlling a girlfriend or boyfriend’s time with friends and family. At the end, we will talk about knowing rights in a relationship.”

This is not a class where there will be a discussion concerning sex or birth control. “Our class does not address sex or birth control,” said Howard. “Our focus is on promoting healthy relationships as it relates to teen dating violence. The only context we may speak of sex is that ‘no’ means ‘no.’

Breakfast snacks will be provided. For more information, call 706-624-1456.