This message is in response to Angela Rose’s piece on Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. I would have emailed her directly, but could not locate any other contact information than this one, so please pass it along if possible. I want to first commend her on a wonderful piece—it is important that everyone can identify what is and is not appropriate behavior and how to get/give help—and thank you all at PAVE for the work you do. As a survivor of sexual assault, I truly appreciate everything organizations such as yours do for those who have been abused.

I feel the topic of relationship abuse is so vital for us to talk about as a society. There is a stigma, I believe, when it comes to relationship violence. So many people assume that abuse only occurs in married couples, that it only happens to women, and that it always comes in the vein of physical violence. We know that is not true though.

Our society needs a wakeup call to the very real dangers facing both males and females, of all ages, races, sexual orientations, and sects–dating violence occurs all the time, too often, and it needs to end.

My employer recently allowed me to write a detailed piece on dating violence. I hope that by dispelling many of the myths surrounding relationship violence and explaining what it really is, I can help someone who is in an abusive relationship recognize that they do not deserve nor should they tolerate the treatment they receive from their partner.

I would be honored if you would take a look at what I wrote, and if you like it, please feel free to share it with your readers. I just want to do my small part to make a difference and hopefully help an abuse victim persevere and get help.

Thank you for your time and again for all of the valuable work you do. You are all my heroes. I hope you enjoy my piece.

Written by: Kristin Benzinger