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Local health classes discuss dating violence

Jan West, University of Utah student leads a discussion on date violence with students in Todd Jeffs' health class at Emery High School.

Todd Jeffs' health classes were the setting for dating violence workshops. On Oct. 31, Jan West, a graduate student with the University of Utah who is interning with the Division of Child and Family Services here in Emery County, addressed the classes on the topic of dating violence.

West began the classes with introductions and explained to the high school students that dating violence is on the rise.

She said incidents have risen from 16 percent to 24 percent over the past several years.

West asked the students to identify the elements of a healthy relationship.

The students came up with many elements, friendship, trust, kindness, humor, respect, honesty and good communication skills.

West then asked the students to identify what constitutes an unhealthy relationship, the group came up with controlling, abusive, mean, unloyal, jealousy or drug use.

West explained to the students these are the warning signs that a relationship is not healthy. When she asked the students why they thought the number of dating violence incidents are on the rise, they responded TV, frustration, parental abuse and drug abuse.

The class then watched a video demonstrating an unhealthy relationship between a young man and woman.

After the video, West asked the students for the opinions of this relationship.

This class was very savvy to what can happen and how things can get out of control relatively quickly.

Next for discussion was the cycle of violence. West explained that if a child sees violences or abuse in the home, they come to understand this is the norm for behavior.

Then as an adult, they continue to act out what they have been taught as a child.

Thus perpetuating the cycle of violence. She stressed the need for breaking this cycle.

All to often, the results of abuse can be devasting physically, emotionally, and can sometimes be fatal.

Along with Halloween treats, West handed out two pamphlets to the class about dating violence, how to stop the cycle and where to get help.

To receive help on the subject of dealing with violence in relationships, call Kathy Anderson at the Carbon and Emery Coalition on Domestic Violence at 381-4730.

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