Teen Dating Violence: 1 in 10 is Too Many

Kenya Fairley, Program Manager, Division of Family Violence Prevention & Services, Family & Youth Services Bureau

One in ten high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped, or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend and one in six college women has been sexually abused in a dating relationship.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that approximately 7% of adult women and 4% of adult men who ever experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced some form of partner violence by that same partner and before 18.

Each month, the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s loveisrespect project responds to over 5,000 contacts via phone, text, and online chat.

The impacts of violence last long beyond the incident itself. Youth who experience intimate partner violence are more likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety; engage in tobacco, drug, and alcohol use; exhibit antisocial behaviors; have thoughts of suicide; and be victimized in college.

During Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, we encourage individuals and communities to work together to inform youth and the adults in their lives about the signs of unhealthy relationships and where to go if help is needed.

A great way to learn more is through loveisrespect. Funded through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), loveisrespect provides support, information, and advocacy to young people who have questions or concerns about their dating relationships, and can also help concerned parents, teachers, service providers, clergy and law enforcement understand how to address abuse among the young people they serve.

Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Download the loveisrespect Respect Week Guide 2018: Hands Unite! Do Your Part. This guide provides an overview of dating abuse, including statistics and signs of what to look for, sample social media posts to share, awareness ideas for Respect Week (February 12-16) and other outreach activities, and easy to use materials to help promote prevention of teen dating violence.
  • Participate in Wear #Orange4Love Day on Tuesday, February 13. Started by the loveisrespect National Youth Advisory Board, Wear #Orange4Love is celebrated on the second Tuesday of February to raise awareness of teen dating abuse.
  • Consider Storytelling as a Tool for Raising Awareness & Inspiring Action. The National Domestic Violence Awareness Project supports and promotes ongoing public education efforts to end domestic and dating violence. Stories can be used as powerful organizing forces to help connect people around a common cause despite their cultural differences. Check the site for free, downloadable graphics, campaign ideas, awareness raising materials, and more.
  • Post CDC’s Teen Dating Violence Prevention Infographic. This infographic speaks to the importance of working together to teach healthy relationship skills to build safer, healthier communities for everyone. Links to download a shareable image, PDF version, or embed link for posting on social media or via email are included.
  • Become a preventionist (or prevention practitioner) and engage in prevention education. Get the facts, tips, tools, and training from CDC’s VetoViolence Campaign. Download an interactive guide on informing and evaluating teen dating violence policies, Dating Matters, or participate in a game-like experience using a Community Health Sim to address public health issues in VetoVille.

Have questions about the health and safety of your relationship? Contact loveisrespect, any day/any time, to talk with a peer advocate at 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522 or chat online at http://www.loveisrespect.org. Also, take dating quizzes, get resources, and read blogs on dating and hooking up, dynamics of abuse, self-care, and helping others.

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