February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
1 in 3 teens in the US will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from someone they’re in a relationship with
Dating violence is more common than people think, especially among teens and young adults: one in three teens in the US will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from someone they’re in a relationship with before they become adults, and nearly half (43%) of college women report experiencing violent or abusive dating behaviors.
Impact of Teen Dating Violence
According to the Center for Disease Control, teen domestic violence has both serious short-term and long-term consequences. While healthy relationships tend to have a positive effect on emotional development and future relationships, abusive relationships often do the opposite. Dating violence victims are likely to experience suicidal thoughts, antisocial behaviors, depression and anxiety, and engage in unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol and drug use.
Unfortunately, many cases go unreported because victims are afraid to tell their family and friends. If you are experiencing dating abuse, then please get help immediately. We include various resources to assist you. If, on the other hand, you have been accused of violence, you may face serious criminal charges and might need a criminal defense attorney to assist you.
Talk to Teens
Everyone can make a difference by reaching out to young people in simple ways. As we interact with teens in our work or personal lives each of us can act on President Obama’s call to stand against teen dating violence by:
Discussing the warning signs of dating abuse (all kinds, not just physical abuse).
Talking about how the media portrays healthy and unhealthy relationships. For example, many popular movies, TV shows, commercials, books, and magazines portray stalking as romantic or harmless when it is actually very dangerous.
Creating a positive connection to the issue – talk about the characteristics of healthy teen relationships, not just abusive ones.
Getting involved even if you don’t have a lot of resources – an information table, classroom discussion, or school announcement can get the conversation started.
If you know of a teen or parent that could benefit from speaking to a caring, well-trained peer advocate, please connect them with the National Dating Abuse Helpline, a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, at 1-866-331-9474 (TTY: 1-866-331-8453), by texting “loveis” to 77054, or through live chat at loveisrespect.org.
Understanding Dating Violence, and How We Can Prevent It
Kushal Chattopadhyay, a Youth Leader with Maitri Bay Area, shares this informative video for Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Video provided by California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.