NYT Best Seller Sharon M. Draper weighs in on Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

panicYoung adult author Sharon M. Draper applauds the fact that February is Teen Dating Violence awareness month.  The New York Times best-selling author’s 20+ novels entertain and excite young readers while helping to educate them on subjects like bullying, sexting, and stranger danger. Like all parents, she is concerned by a recent report that twenty percent of women between the ages of 11 and 17 have reported being raped, assaulted, or stalked by a romantic partner.  It was statistics like this that motivated Draper in the writing of her newest book, Panic, that chronicles both a teen in an abusive relationship and another who should have known better than to get into a car with a stranger and is abducted.

“We talk to our younger children about ‘stranger danger’ all the time but when they reach the teen years we stop talking to them as much and it is just as important,” said Draper who is encouraged because parents are telling her that Panic is a “conversation starter” about these topics.  Draper, a Cleveland, OH, native was heartbroken along with the rest of the world when the horrific details emerged about the three young women kidnapped as teens and held for a decade.  “If that proved anything it is that we need to talk more about this issue not less,” she said.

This month the young adult fiction blogosphere is drawing attention to the issue because it is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  Many cite Panic as a great resource to highlight the issue.  Draper hopes that as February comes and goes the conversation about how to keep teens safe will not.  “Let’s keep talking about this issue.  If Panic causes one teen to think twice before they get into a strangers car or motivates them to get out of a violent relationship then it has done its job!”

Panic is now available in paperback.  For an excerpt visit http://www.scribd.com/doc/126576963/Panic-by-Sharon-Draper-Excerpt.
For more on Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month visit: http://www.teendvmonth.org/.