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Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month – February 2023

National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is observed in February. The month encourages young people and their loved ones throughout the country to come together to raise awareness about the issue of teen dating violence. This annual, month-long, national awareness drive focuses on the education needed to prevent dating abuse before it even starts.

History of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

U.S. President Barack Obama declared the month of February as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in 2011. The Resource Center for Domestic Violence defines teen dating violence as a pattern of abuse against teenagers who are dating or involved in any kind of romantic capacity. This includes threats to the victims and abuse through verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, and even digital forms. Violence can occur across all varieties of groups, cultures, orientations, identities, and religions.

The statistics justify the need for an awareness month, which shows that dating violence is more common than we think, especially among teens. One in three teens in the U.S. experiences some kind of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional) from someone they’re romantically involved with, and about 43% of college women reported experiencing abusive dating behaviors. They need to be encouraged to talk openly about respect, consent, and boundaries. The earlier they are exposed to what healthy relationships look like, the better it is for them.

Last year’s theme was ‘Know Your Worth’ which focused on self-empowerment and healthy relationships. It is a powerful personal statement that guides relationship behaviors and communication towards becoming healthy and free from violence. Every person, young or old, is deserving of a healthy, loving relationship. Last year’s Respect Week comprised the following activities: Respect Announcement, Wear Orange Day, Share Your Worth, Respect Challenge, and Take Care of Yourself. This year’s week will also share a similar proceeding. After a dozen editions of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, one can hope that the issue has been reduced.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month timeline

2008
Meta-Analysis

A meta-analysis of a ten-year study reveals that adolescent females commit remarkably more acts of domestic violence in intimate relationships than males.

2009
C.D.C. Survey

A survey by the C.D.C. reveals that about 10% of high school students in the U.S. were intentionally physically hurt by their partners in the past year.

2011
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

On January 31, 2011, President Obama proclaims February as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

2011
Another C.D.C. Survey

A C.D.C. U.S. survey reports that 23% of females and 14% of males who experienced physical violence by their partner first experienced it between the ages of 11 and 17.

2011
State Power

At least eight states introduce legislation to address teen dating violence.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month FAQs

What are the main types of teen dating violence?

The four main types of abuse are verbal, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Stalking is also recognized as a common type of abuse that is committed by partners or even acquaintances.

What does a healthy relationship look like?

Healthy relationships comprise respect, trust, honesty, effort, communication, and compromise. Partners must respect each other’s boundaries, feel free to share their feelings, and can make decisions without fear of any negative reactions from the other.

Which type of abuse is the hardest to detect?

Since physical, verbal, and sexual abuse can be seen and heard, emotional and psychological abuse could be considered the hardest to detect. It tends to coexist with the other forms of abuse and is not easy to identify.

How to Observe Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

  1. Announce respect

    The idea behind the respect announcement is that you deserve respect, for love is respect. Don’t forget that you have the right to set boundaries in your relationship.

  2. Wear orange

    Orange is the official color for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. So wear orange as much as you can, and challenge your friends to do the same, even if it’s just accessories.

  3. Do the respect challenge

    For the respect challenge on social media, one needs to tag any person in their life who shows them respect. The point is to share that you appreciate them respecting you and letting them know how much it matters to you.

5 Important Facts About Teen Dating Violence

  1. Long-term effects

    Teens suffering from dating abuse often end up being victims of long-term problems like alcoholism, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, violent bouts, and so on.

  2. Widely affected

    In the U.S., about 33% of male and female adolescents are victims of sexual, physical, or emotional dating abuse.

  3. S.T.D. scares

    Teen girls subject to abuse are six times more likely to become pregnant or contract an S.T.D. or S.T.I.

  4. Suicidal scares

    A shocking 50% of young adults who experience physical or sexual abuse (including rape) attempt to commit suicide.

  5. Can’t confide

    Only a third of teens in an abusive relationship could confide in someone about the abuse, and hesitate to seek help since they don’t want to expose themselves.

Why Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is Important

  1. The stats are staggering

    One in three teens in the U.S. experiences some kind of abuse from someone they’re romantically involved with. About 43% of college women reported experiencing abusive dating behaviors, which makes it a pressing issue.

  2. It can be dangerous

    What the stats above don’t mention is that such abusive behavior can scar someone for the rest of their lives. Since these patterns start at a young age as teens discover love, they need to be fixed so they don’t stick around forever.

  3. You deserve better

    Knowing your worth and knowing that you deserve better are empowering things. Demanding respect is a fundamental human right.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month dates

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