Oswego organization strives to spread awareness about dating violence

OSWEGO, N.Y. — February is teen dating violence awareness month and according to the advocacy group “Love is Respect,” one in three teens in the U.S. will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they reach adulthood. 

According to the Oswego County Opportunities’ Service to Aid Families, otherwise known as SAF, dating violence impacts people every day and is often overlooked. 

“It is considered a taboo subject so people don’t wanna talk about it,” Jake West, Senior Program Manager of Victim Services, said. “They feel uncomfortable to talk about it so they avoid it. Some people consider it an in-home issue, a personal issue that isn’t to be discussed outside of the home.”

SAF offers programs like a 24-hour hotline, free and confident counseling, temporary relocation options, and many more; however, fear is the main reason why getting out of an abusive relationship can be difficult, West said.  

“Abusers will threaten to kill them, kill their children, take their children from them if they leave,” said West. “The statistic is the victim is seven times more likely to suffer physical harm or homicide when they leave.”

The majority of Oswego County is considered rural, which means greater isolation and little access to public transportation. This allows the abuser to cut off a victim’s support system.

SAF helps hundreds of victims and survivors each year. Close to three thousand people received support from SAF.  

Anyone who is suffering from violence in their relationship should contact their local advocacy group, title IX office, or school administration. If someone does not feel comfortable reaching out to an outside organization, confiding in a trusted family member or friend can help. 

For more information visit the Oswego County Opportunities’ webpage or call (315) 598 – 4717.