Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Content Warning: The following content discusses sexual violence.

February marks the beginning of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, a time for raising awareness of abuse in teenage relationships and spreading information on healthy relationships. According to Loveisrespect.org, “Dating abuse is a pattern of destructive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner.” They say that, before adulthood, one in three teens has experienced abuse in a relationship. This abuse can manifest in forms like physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and is not limited to things like age and gender. Teenagers and adults must understand the warning signs of teen dating violence and raise awareness.

In addition to the immediate effects of abuse, there are harmful longer-lasting effects. As stated by Youth.gov, a federal website that provides tools for youth, adolescents who have experienced abuse may bring unhealthy patterns into future relationships. According to Peace Over Violence, some warning signs of an abusive relationship may include “jealousy, controlling behavior, quick involvement, unrealistic expectations and dependencies, isolation, blaming, hypersensitivity, cruelty to animals, ‘playful’ use of force during sex, abrupt mood changes, history of violence, threats, breaking or throwing objects, and any force during an argument.” Healthy relationships are ones where individuals respect, trust, and support each other.

To get more involved with educating and preventing teen dating violence, the GALA STOP club is a great place to start. If you or someone needs to talk to a trained advocate, contact the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 or live chat through Loveisrespect.org. Finally, you can spread awareness of teen dating violence by wearing orange for this month.