Talking to Teens
February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month. Teen dating violence is one of the many types of violence that youth may experience but we know that they do not experience it in isolation. Violence has become so prevalent in our current society that youth often experience or witness violence without giving it much thought. Ignoring the problem won't solve it. The facts below outline some of the concerning statistics on the impact of violence impacts on youth.
Is This Abuse?
- On average, 16 persons between the ages of 10 and 24 are murdered each day in the United States (CDC 2009).
- 9.4 percent of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey).
- Youth who are threatened with or experience physical violence or who are injured by peers report more suicidal thoughts and behavior than non-victimized youth. (Journal of Pediatrics 2012)
Dating abuse is a pattern of destructive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner. While we define dating violence as a pattern, that doesn't mean the first instance of abuse is not dating violence. It just recognizes that dating violence usually involves a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time.
Warning Signs of Abuse
Because relationships exist on a spectrum, it can be hard to tell when a behavior crosses the line from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive. Use these warning signs of abuse to see if your relationship is going in the wrong direction:
- Checking your cell phone or email without permission
- Constantly putting you down
- Extreme jealousy or insecurity
- Explosive temper
- Isolating you from family or friends
- Making false accusations
- Mood swings
- Physically hurting you in any way
- Telling you what to do
For more information on ways to get involved in preventing violence, visit Love Is Respect (www.loveisrespect.org
) the Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month's website (www.teendvmonth.org
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