Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (TDVAPM). One in 10 teens report they have been physically abused by a girlfriend or boyfriend, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, one-in-four teens 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 teen is traveling between school and home and classes.
- More examples and explanations.
The good news is that awareness, education and prevention work!
Teens 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:
- Love Is Respect – http://www.loveisrespect.org/ or www.teendvmonth.org/resources
- Healthy Relationships
- Futures Without Violence
- Empowering Youth to End Violence
- National Dating Abuse Hotline – 1-866-331-9474