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.
If you think you are in an abusive relationship and want to talk to an advocate, call Community Resource Center’s 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-877-633-1112.
If you are in danger, call 911 (or text if you are unable to call). Or you can text loveis to 22522 to reach an advocate from loveisrespect.
What is Teen Dating Violence?
Teen dating violence (TDV) is a type of domestic violence or intimate partner violence. It occurs between two people in a close relationship. TDV is the use of coercive, intimidating, or manipulative behaviors to exert power and control over a partner. It can happen in person or electronically especially through-unwanted texting and social media posts. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Teens often think some behaviors, like teasing and name-calling, are a “normal” part of a relationship—but these behaviors can become abusive and develop into serious forms of violence. However, many teens do not report unhealthy behaviors because they are afraid to tell family and friends.
Who does it affect?
Teen dating violence affects millions of teens in the U.S. each year. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey indicate that:
- One in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be in an abusive relationship.
- 26% of women and 15% of men who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18.
What are the consequences?
Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can have severe consequences and short-and long-term negative effects on a developing teen. According to the CDC, youth who are victims of TDV are more likely to:
- Experience symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Engage in unhealthy behaviors, like using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol
- Exhibit antisocial behaviors, like lying, theft, bullying or hitting
- Think about suicide
Violence in an adolescent relationship sets the stage for problems in future relationships, including intimate partner violence and sexual violence perpetration and/or victimization throughout life. For example, youth who are victims of dating violence in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college.
How can we stop teen dating violence before it starts?
Supporting the development of healthy, respectful, and nonviolent relationships can reduce the occurrence of TDV. During the pre-teen and teen years, it is critical for youth to begin learning the skills needed to create and maintain healthy relationships. These skills include things like how to manage feelings and how to communicate in a healthy way. This is the education CRC offers to youth in our community through the Domestic Violence Education and Prevention Program. For more information and resources, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For TDVAM 2021, CRC is working in collaboration with the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence and the San Diego Domestic Violence Council Committee on Teen Dating Violence to offer actions everyone can take to learn more and raise awareness about Teen Dating Violence. Here are ways you can get involved:
- Take the pledge: The Teen Dating Violence Committee of the San Diego Domestic Violence Council envisions a world where people of all ages feel safe and respected in their relationships. For Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month 2021, stand with us against teen dating violence and sign the pledge today to treat your partners with equality and respect. Take the pledge here
- Spread the word: Our social media channels will feature messages and activities throughout the month about how to join us. You can also download materials here from Teen Dating Violence Committee of the San Diego Domestic Violence Council.
- Wear orange: Wear orange to show your solidarity during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and tag us at @sandiegocrc and share why you believe healthy relationships are important. Need some orange clothing? Visit CRC’s Resale Stores for a special 50% off discount on orange clothing during February.
Two events you don’t want to miss:
On February 9, wear the color orange and from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., join the virtual California Youth in the Lead Orange Day Q&A! Youth leaders will develop and ask questions of local and state level policymakers about what they are doing to support the issues they identify as important. Youth will also provide context for their questions by sharing their own experiences in the work to prevent teen dating violence, advocate for healthy relationships, heal from trauma, and engage in interconnected forms of social justice. Show your solidarity during Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month in February.
February 23, 6:00 – 7:00 pm: A Conversation about Healthy Teen Relationships
Join CRC’s prevention educator, Luis Canseco and other teen dating violence preventionists for a conversation about how parents, coaches, advisors, mentors and other influential adults can talk to teens about healthy relationship skills – what they are and how to develop them.
To schedule a training for your group or school, please contact:
Luis Canseco, CRC’s Domestic Violence Education and Prevention Specialist at email@example.com.
To make a donation:
Give today to help families and individuals in crisis receive shelter, counseling, child therapy, legal assistance and resources to break the cycle of violence. Thank you!