WHEREAS, everyone has the right to experience a healthy and safe relationship, free of abuse; and it is of great importance that adequate education about healthy relationships be available to Alaska’s youth, as well as safe harbor for those who are experiencing abuse from a dating partner; and
WHEREAS, it is known that young women between the ages of 16 and 24 are more vulnerable to dating violence which often entails the use or threat of physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional, abusive behavior by a current or previous dating partner; and
WHEREAS, according to the 2017 Alaska Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 1,700 students (5.5 percent) in Alaska’s traditional high school programs experienced sexual dating violence one or more times during the past year and nearly 2,300 (7.3 percent) experienced physical dating violence one or more times during the past year; and
WHEREAS, high school students who experience physical violence in a dating relationship are more likely to self-medicate using drugs and alcohol, are at a greater risk of suicide, and are more likely to carry patterns of abuse into future dating relationships; and
WHEREAS, by providing young people with education about healthy relationships and relationship skills, and by affecting change in the attitudes that support violence, dating violence can be prevented; and
WHEREAS, Alaska’s teen dating violence outreach, education, and prevention efforts are having a positive effect indicated by the reduction in both reported physical dating violence and sexual dating violence. Between 2015 and 2017 sexual dating violence decreased from 10.1 percent to 5.5 percent, and physical dating violence decreased from 9.5 percent to 7.3 percent; and
WHEREAS, in 2018 Alaska passed legislation to establish February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month which may be observed through appropriate activities that increase the public’s awareness of teen dating violence in the state; and
WHEREAS, Tuesday, February 12, is Wear Orange 4 Love Day, a national day of awareness, with this year’s Alaska theme continuing as A Healthy We Begins with a Healthy Me, we encourage Alaskans to wear orange and promote respect and healthy relationships.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Michael J. Dunleavy, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ALASKA, do hereby proclaim February 2019 as:
Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month
in Alaska, and encourage all Alaskans to pursue healthy relationships, to learn the signs of teen dating violence, and to promote awareness, prevention, and responsible action to end teen dating violence in our state.