Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (TDVAPM). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 10 teenagers report they have been physically abused by a girlfriend or boyfriend. In addition, one-in-four teenagers report to have been sexually harassed or assaulted.
These forms of violence are serious because they tend to introduce a negative pattern of behaviors in relationships at a very young age. These behaviors carry over into adult relationships, if they are not properly addressed and treated.
Identify the Warning Signs:
- Extreme jealousy;
- Angry outburst/temper tantrums;
- Monitoring cell phones, social media, friends, classes and extra-curricular activities;
- Name calling and public humiliation, including cyber bullying;
- Unwanted sexual pressuring or behaviors;
- Hitting, slapping, punching, pushing, grabbing, kicking, pulling and/or shoving;
- Purposefully breaking objects and being intimidating;
- Isolating from friends and family;
- Preventing a person from making their own decisions;
- Causing trouble when a teenager is traveling between school and home and classes.
- More examples and explanations.
The good news is that awareness, education, and prevention work!
Teenagers are very receptive to learning how to manage dating relationships in a healthy manner and learn well from mentors and peers. They tend not to repeat decisions or behaviors that have led to abuse once they have learned non-violent ways of dealing with difficult situations in relationships. Because prevention curriculums have such a positive outcome, middle and high schools are incorporating relationship skills building into physical education, health and family life classes.
How to Stop Teen Dating Violence:
- Tell a parent, teacher, counselor, coach, nurse or trusted adult;
- Support friends in going to the school counselors to get help;
- Text “LoveIs” to 22522 or visit the website at www.loveisrespect.org;
- Call the National Dating Abuse Hotline at 1-866-331-9474;
- Call your local Fleet and Family Service Center (FFSC) for individual counseling;
- Tell the abusive teen it is not healthy, and you are concerned for him/her;
- Ask a counselor to help you make a safety plan in case you feel threatened.
As a Parent or Invested Adult:
- Try not to be judgmental because anyone can be a victim, and abusive teens are having trouble expressing emotions and dealing with stress and fear;
- Model healthy relationship behaviors and conflict resolution in your relationships;
- Get professional help for your child;
- Address safety concerns at home, in school, at extra-curricular activities and times in-between;
- Get support from your child’s teaching staff to supervise between and during classes.
Effects of Teen Dating Violence for both victims and abusive teens:
- Depression: loss of interest, loss of self-esteem, shame and avoidance;
- Immediate safety/death;
- Injuries: lacerations, bruising, strangulation and pain;
- Self-injuring behaviors as a coping mechanism;
- Increased suicidal thoughts and attempts;
- Decreased academic standing or poor grades;
- Increased truancy, high school drop-out and later difficulty in acquiring employment;
- Loss of independence;
- Difficulty controlling emotions especially frustration, anger, fear and sadness;
- Loss of friendships and interaction in after school activities;
- Increased chance of teen pregnancy;
- Increased chance of public humiliation and psychological repercussions;
- Increased risk of long term health issues such as high blood pressure, illness, headaches etc.;
For More Information: