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  • Writer's pictureLani Byrd

Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

1 in 12 teens experience physical or sexual dating violence - cdc.gov


February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (TDVAM). This is an issue that impacts everyone – not just teens – but their parents, teachers, friends and communities as well. Together, we can raise awareness about teen dating violence and promote safe, healthy relationships.


Dating violence is more common than you may think, especially among teens and young adults: 1 in 3 U.S. teens will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from someone they’re in a relationship with before they become adults. And nearly half (43%) of U.S. college women report experiencing violent or abusive dating behaviors.



IS IT ABUSE?


Dating abuse is a pattern of coercive, intimidating, or manipulative behaviors used to exert power and control over a partner. While dating violence is defined as a pattern, this doesn’t mean that the first instance of abuse isn’t also dating violence; we simply recognize that dating violence tends to involve a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time.

KNOW THE SIGNS

Typical warning signs of abuse from your partner include:


  • Checking your phone, email, or social media accounts without your permission.

  • Putting you down frequently, especially in front of others.

  • Isolating you from friends or family (physically, financially, or emotionally).

  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity.

  • Explosive outbursts, temper, or mood swings.

  • Any form of physical harm.

  • Possessiveness or controlling behavior.

  • Pressuring you or forcing you to have sex.

Relationship abuse is all about power and control. While you may be unwilling or unable to leave your relationship right now, it’s important to remember that abusive partners are unlikely to change their behavior.


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 to stand against teen dating violence by:

  • Discussing the warning signs of dating abuse (all kinds, not just physical abuse).

  • Creating a positive connection to the issue – talk about the characteristics of healthy teen relationships, not just abusive ones – and use statistics sparingly.

  • 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.

  • 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.


RESOURCES FOR HELP


View the 2023 Love is Respect "Be About It" Action Guide to learn how to help yourself and help others who may be experiencing teen dating violence.


HOW UNUSED CELL PHONES CAN HELP


If you would like to help a victim of teen dating violence, please consider donating your unused (or unclaimed lost-and-found or property-and-evidence) cell phones to the 911 Cell Phone Bank. Donated devices are securely upcycled and distributed to law enforcement and victims' agencies to provide victims with the means to contact emergency services when the need arises. Visit 911cellphonebank.org to learn more and print a free shipping label. 100% FREE. TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. GUARANTEED SECURE.



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