Friday, April 20 , 2018, 6:37 am | Fair 46º


What Is Love Launches Expanded Website with Tools for Teens, Parents and Educators

Holiday pressures can sometimes cause arguments to intensify leading to an abusive explosion for teens in dating relationships. Parties, the stress of gift giving and spending additional time with a dating partner increases anxiety and stress, thus resulting in a violent situation.

What Is Love founder and director of prevention Christy Haynes, M.A. Psy., says, "Researchers have found that dating abuse rates can increase as much as 32 percent during the holidays. Our new website,, is helping our teens, parents and educators understand the impacts of dating abuse and connecting them to resources for help and support.”

What is dating abuse? The physical, sexual, digital, verbal and psychological/emotional abuse within a dating relationship, as well as stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and may occur between a current or former dating partner. One in three teens in Santa Barbara County experience dating abuse and most never ask for help.

Did you know? Youth who are harmed by teen dating abuse are more likely to do poorly in school, binge drink, attempt suicide, engage in physical fighting and have a greater likelihood of teen pregnancy.

Dating abuse does not discriminate. Teens participating in or experiencing dating abuse come from lower-income families as well as upper income families. They represent the entire spectrum of racial and cultural colors, educational levels, and sexual orientation.

“Thanks to the generous support of the James S. Bower Foundation, Verizon Foundation, Towbes Foundation and the Fund for Santa Barbara we have been able to expand our website to include online resources for teens, parents and educators,” Haynes said.

For assistance, counseling and referrals to local advocacy centers, please call or text the following numbers. Text "LISTEN" to 741741 to chat with a compassionate, trained counselor about anything, or call the National Teen Dating Abuse 24-Hour Helpline at 866.331.8453.

For more information about What Is Love programs, click here or join us on Facebook by clicking here.

— Christy Haynes is the founder of What Is Love.

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