Help Spread Awareness About Teen Dating Violence This February.
February has long been known as the month for love. But this month is not just reserved for cupid. February is also National Teen Violence and Awareness Month, where activists, organizations and community leaders come together to raise awareness and stress that Love is Respect.
Many of us want to believe that teen dating violence (TDV) is something that only happens on an old episode of 90210 … but the truth is, teen and young adult dating violence is a big problem, affecting youth in every community across the nation, even right here in our local communities.
A study done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that, “Of U.S. students who said they were dating, 21 percent of girls and 10 percent of boys said they had been victims of physical and sexual violence from a dating partner in the last 12 months”. In some communities, the numbers are even worse.TDV is more prevalent among teens who engage in high risk. Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the national average. (https://defendinnocence.org/)
In addition, a recent study evaluated the relationship between dating violence and suicide attempts among urban teens aged 14 and older. According to this study, teen girls who experienced recent dating violence were 60% more likely to report at least one suicide attempt in the past year than those who did not experience recent dating violence. [Source: Olshen et al (2007); http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=570505]
Considering the astounding evidence of wide-spread teen dating violence in our country, in addition to the devastating impacts it leaves on its victims … it is time for youth, parents, schools, and communities to act. So how can you help?First off, knowing the warning signs of teen dating violence is crucial. Whether you are a parent, teacher, coach or just a friend - knowing and understanding the signs could be the saving grace a teen may need.
Warning Signs for Teen Dating Violence
- Problems at school
- Consistent school attendance problems
- A noticeable drop in grades
- A sudden request for class schedule changes
- A noticeable weight change
- Changes in behavior
- Passive or quieter than usual
- Drop in self-confidence
- Isolation from social group
- Regular bruising or other injuries
- Alcohol or drug use
- One teen seems to be controlling the other one
- Physically – one person’s arm is always firmly around the other person
- Socially – one person monopolizes the other person’s time
- Electronically – one person is repeatedly calling, texting, e-mailing, messaging, ect., when communication is unwanted
Next, consider some of the warning signs that may indicate youth who are engaging in teen dating violence.
Warning Signs for Engaging in Teen Violence
- Insists on walking a dating partner to class
- Threatens to hurt others
- Threatens to hurt self if dating partner breaks up with him/her
- Insults a dating partner in public or private
- Damages or destroys a dating partner’s personal belongings
- Attempts to control what dating partner wears
Now that you know what to look out for, let’s consider ways in which we can make a difference. Awareness and prevention is key!
Want to make a difference?
- Be a Role Model – Whether a parent, teacher, coach, friend, or family member– everyone should model respect in their daily behavior.
- Start talking to your kids about healthy relationships early – before they start dating.
- Get involved with local efforts to prevent TDV at your teens’ school.
- Contact Someplace Safe for a presentation or educational opportunity. Our agency is committed to spreading awareness about TDV by providing education to schools and community organizations. You can inquire about hosting a by contacting Someplace Safe at 218-739-3359. More information may be found at www.someplacesafe.info/community-and-education/.
- Check out www.loveisrespect.org. “Love is Respect” is a great resource which empowers youth to help prevent and end dating abuse. It is a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Loveisrespect.org has launched the new “#1Thing” campaign in 2020. This campaign is focused on meeting teens where they are at. By learning one thing about teen dating violence and sharing that with a friend, every teen can make a difference. By just learning or doing one thing, you can start the conversation about healthy relationships in your friend circles, schools, and communities.
Working together, teens and adults can make a difference! To find more information and resources on TDV for teens, parents, and service providers alike visit:
If you or someone you know needs to speak with an advocate about teen dating violence, contact Someplace Safe at 1.800.974.3359 or visit us online to chat with a trained advocate at www.someplacesafe.info.
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