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Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Highlight

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Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Highlight

February 1, 2022

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month provides an opportunity for prevention and healing for teen victims of violent relationships, as well as the ability to become more aware and knowledgeable on the steps to take to protect yourself and those around you from relationship violence. At a time when an estimated 1 in 10 teens will experience dating violence, we all must take this opportunity to amplify our efforts and shine a spotlight on this important issue!

According to the Domestic Violence Awareness Project, approximately 1.5 million high school students in the United States experience physical abuse from a dating partner. One-quarter of parents don’t talk to their teens about domestic violence. The only true way to combat this serious issue affecting so many of our adolescents is through prevention, education and awareness.

Nationwide, youth age 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault.  Studies show that approximately 10% of adolescents report being the victim of physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner during the previous year.  Girls are particularly vulnerable to experiencing violence in their relationships and are more likely to suffer long-term behavioral and health consequences, including suicide attempts, eating disorders, and drug use.

Adolescents in abusive relationships often carry these unhealthy patterns of violence into future relationships.  Indeed, children who are victimized or witness violence frequently bring this experience with them to the playground, the classroom, later into teen relationships and, ultimately, they can end up the victims and perpetrators of adult intimate partner violence.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month encourages parents and adolescents to take an inventory of their relationships. Abuse includes physical, psychological, or sexual abuse and puts a strain on your relationship with your significant other, as well as family and friends.

This February, help break the cycle of teen dating violence and start conversations that help make a difference. Use #TeenDatingViolenceAwarenessMonth, #TeenDVMonth and #LoveIsRespect to share information and stand in solidarity with victims. Do your part by encouraging schools, parents, teens, and community-based organizations to prevent this kind of violence.

If you are a parent, talk to your kids about the dangers of teen dating violence and teach your children that love is respect, and if someone tries to hurt them in any way, how they can stand up for themselves and safely exit the situation they’re in.

Visit youth.gov and loveisrespect.org for conversation starters and additional resources!