Each year, the month that so prominently celebrates love also brings with it increased pressure for many to find relationships, especially teens still learning the ropes of dating and relationships.
Without knowledge about constructive relationship-building, many teens find themselves experiencing dating violence or other forms of abusive relationship behavior, often without even realizing it.
The average age of first intercourse in the United States is 17, which means that more than half of the teen population has already broken the law, and many of those relationships involve 18- and 19-year-olds.
A statutory rape conviction as an adult can mean jail or prison time, and the requirement that they register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.
For more information on age of consent laws in your state, contact your local bar association.
In Georgia, the rates of teen dating violence also mirror national statistics from the CDC.
The Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) 2013 YRBSS data for physical dating violence show that 12.9 percent of females and 11.6 percent of males in high school reported intentionally being physically hurt by someone they were dating or going out with one or more times during the past 12 months.
He spent two years of that sentence in prison until the Georgia Supreme Court ruled the punishment “grossly disproportionate" to the crime and set him free.
While statutory rape and similar laws were written to protect children from abuse by older, predatory partners, teenagers can get caught in the crossfire.
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When such cases hit the courts, it's generally because the activity has been discovered in such a way as to make ignorance legally actionable, or because someone is pushing a case through.
Teachers and school counselors, for example, are legally obligated to report child abuse, which includes underage sexual activity and molestation, to authorities.
The free event will teach teens how to recognize and address teen dating violence."In Georgia, more than 100 teens and young adults lost their lives in 2010 to intimate partner violence, and one in three Georgia teens have experienced dating violence. at The Lodge Café located at 3417 Roswell Road Northwest, Atlanta.