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February is Teen Dating Violence (DV) Awareness Month

Written by Donna Golob. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on February 24, 2016 with No Comments

Teen DV Month (sometimes called TDVAM) is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it during the month of February.
Dating violence is more common than many people think. One in three teens in the U.S. will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults.

Did you know that “approximately 9% of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months before surveyed”?

All relationships are different, but the common denominator to most abusive dating relationships is that the violence escalates over time.  It tends to become more and more dangerous for the young victim. According to the CDC, “victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking, suicide attempts, and physical fighting. Victims may also carry the patterns of violence into future relationships”

Who is at risk for dating violence?

• Factors that increase risk for harming a dating partner include:

• Belief that dating violence is acceptable

• Depression, anxiety, and other trauma symptoms

• Aggression towards peers and other aggressive behavior

• Substance use

• Early sexual activity and having multiple sexual partners

• Having a friend involved in dating violence

• Conflict with partner

• Witnessing or experiencing violence in the home

Dating Violence can take on several forms:

• Physical

• Verbal or Emotional

• Sexual

• Digital

• Stalking

You can also help your teen understand what signs to look for if they are in a relationship:  

• Checking your cell phone or email without permission

• Constantly putting you down

• Extreme jealousy or insecurity

• Explosive temper

• Isolating you from family or friends

• Making false accusations

• Mood swings

• Physically hurting you in any way

• Possessiveness

• Telling you what to do  (source)

How can we prevent dating violence?

Ultimately the goal is to stop dating violence before it starts. Strategies that promote healthy relationships are vital. During the preteen and teen years, young people are learning skills they need to form positive relationships with others. This is an ideal time to promote healthy relationships and prevent patterns of dating violence that can last into adulthood. Many prevention strategies are proven to prevent or reduce dating violence. Some effective school-based programs change norms, improve problem-solving, and address dating violence in addition to other youth risk behaviors, such as substance use and sexual risk behaviors.

It is very easy for parents to assume that their child would never do something like this nor would they be with someone who would.  Unfortunately, this is simply not always true.  Communication is key.  It’s very important for parents to discuss healthy relationship patterns with their children and teens and what dating violence can look like.

PATH (A Positive Approach to Teen Health) is committed to sharing information with youth in our programs about this important subject.  Empowering teens with the tools they need to set clear boundaries, to have an exit strategy, and to effectively communicate is an important part of our programs.  Dating Violence will be just one of three important topics at our ATIC Conference in April.  Please plan to join us Tuesday, April 12, 2016 as we “Talk About It.”

For more information about teen dating violence, please contact us at info@positiveteenhealth.org or 219-254-2678

Other programs prevent dating violence through changes to the school environment or training influential adults, like parents/caregivers and coaches, to work with youth to prevent dating violence.

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/teen-dating-violence-factsheet-a.pdf

http://www.loveisrespect.org/resources/teendvmonth/

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About Donna Golob

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Donna Golob is the executive director for A Positive Approach to Teen Health (PATH). For more information, visit www.pathblazer.org.

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