Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson has proclaimed February 2013 as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Staff members from the tribe's Family Violence and Victim's Services Program were on hand to watch as Chief Anderson signed the proclamation on Jan, 29.

Last month President Barack Obama made the same declaration on a national level.

"Dating violence, or any other type of violence, is not condoned or welcomed on the Reservation," said Chief Anderson. "As a mother, I understand the concerns many parents feel when their children begin dating relationships. I urge our young tribal members to talk with their parents and contact programs such as the Family Violence and Victim's Services Program and learn about the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships."

Teen dating violence statistics are shocking, officials said.

One in three teenagers is affected by physical, sexual, or verbal dating violence. One in five teenagers in a serious relationship report having been slapped, pushed, hit, threatened or coerced by a partner.

"Family Violence and Victim's Services will be conducting outreach with Choctaw Tribal Schools in efforts to pro mote a decline in dating violence among our Choctaw youth," said Director Alyssa Ben. "We are doing this with the hope to end the cycle of domestic violence among our Choctaw youth within our communities."

The program released the following statement: "On behalf of the Family Violence and Victim's Services Program, we would like to thank Chief Anderson for assisting us in working towards a better future for our families and our communities."