February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. There is not enough awareness about this type of violence. Approximately 10 % of teens will experience violence at some point in a relationship (youth.gov, n.d.). Some people think that only girls can be victims of violence. Although, girls are more likely to be victims, boys are also victims of teen dating violence. For example, 1 in 11 teen girls experience physical dating violence, while 1 in 14 teen boys experience the same (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], n.d.a). The violence that victims may experience include physical, sexual, psychological, and stalking. This violence could be in person but it could also happen through text and phone calls. Examples of violence may include hitting, kicking, forcing a sexual act, name calling, threats, and repeated unwanted attention (CDC, n.d.b). Teens who experience violence in relationships are more likely to bring unhealthy patterns of violence to future relationships. Many teens who have experienced violence may have depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, violent behavior, and reckless actions (Do Something, n.d.). Addressing these feelings and issues is so important to move on to adulthood with healthy habits.
Prevention is key to stopping violence in teen relationships. Parents and teens should learn the warning signs of violence in a relationship. Parents should make sure to talk with their children and teach them healthy communication skills. We, as adults, need to teach children what healthy relationships look like and help them to learn how to defend themselves. The teenage years are critical in teaching teens new skills. Learning how to manage feelings and communicate with others in a healthy way is a skill teenagers can take into adulthood.
What can you do to help stop teen dating violence? Talk to your children, support victims, and use your platform to bring awareness to this often-overlooked issue. Consider contacting your local government officials to help establish laws that protect victims and wear the teen violence awareness month color, orange, during the month of February. Our teens need us!
If you or anyone you know is experiencing violence in a relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-866-331-9474.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. (2019, October 01). Facts about teen dating violence and how you can help prevent it. https://www.chop.edu/news/health-tip/facts-about-teen-dating-violence-and-how-you-can-help-prevent-it
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.a).Preventing teen dating violence: What is teen dating violence. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/ipv/TDV-factsheet_508.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.b). Violence prevention: Teen dating violence. Retrieved January 25, 2022 from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/teendatingviolence/fastfact.html
Do Something. (n.d.). 11 Facts about Teen Dating Violence. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-teen-dating-violence
Youth.gov. (n.d.). What is teen dating violence awareness and prevention month? Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://youth.gov/feature-article/teen-dating-violence-awareness-and-prevention-month