When you started dating, the last thing on your mind was probably worrying about physical or sexual violence in that relationship. Many teens feel that name calling or teasing are just normal behaviors, but these could be the beginning signs of behaviors that could become abusive.

According to the CDC, of high school students who date, 21% of females and 10% of males say that they have experienced physical or sexual dating violence and that some have experienced some type of partner violence between the ages of 11 and 17.

Think about that, that's a scary statistic. While it's hard to believe teen dating violence is happening, and probably at a rate higher than what's being reported as some people may be fearful to come forward, it's an issue that needs to be addressed.

That's why for the fourth year, Ulster County has held a teen dating violence video contest to not only raise awareness but to also try to stop it before it starts. Ulster County Executive Mike Hein announced the winners today and so we say congratulations to this year’s winners:

  •  First place went to Alexis Metcalf, Becky Sauer, Brandon Salmi and Dylan Smith, from Saugerties High School for their video, “Get Help”.
  • Second place went to Christian Valdez, Anastasia Keener, Joyce Valdez, Justin Guliano, and Donnie Paes from Ellenville High School for their video “The Perfect Couple”.
  • Third place went to Ethan Carroll and Julie Raleigh from Saugerties High School for their video “Love Isn’t Perfect”.
photo courtesy of the office of the Ulster County Executive

If you or anyone you know is experiencing any type of violence from a partner, there are people ready to help you. Call the National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline at 1-866-331-9474.