It's already February! Hard to believe how fast time has gone. February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. It is so crucial to bring continued awareness to the issue of teen dating violence. If we don't address it when people are young, we will never fully break the continued cycle.
Shockingly, 1 in 3 teens will experience violence in their dating relationship. Estimates are that nearly 1.5 million high schools students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner! What's even more shocking is that 2/3 of them will not reveal the abuse to a trusted adult. That means there are many young adults carrying around with them a very tragic and very dangerous secret.
Teen dating violence can have long lasting effects and very serious ramifications. It can put a teen at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence. Half of youth who have been victims of both dating violence and rape attempt suicide. That's compared to 12.5% of non abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys. Those numbers are frightening.
What can be done? Parents can get involved. Talk to your teens about who they are dating and what is going on in the relationship. Be aware of the signs of an abusive relationship and have open communication with your teens so that it is safe for them to talk about what is going on. Also, download the iPhone app “Love is not Abuse”. There is a wealth of information to learn about the signs, how to talk to teens, what to do, support groups etc. It's important to be informed and to take action.
If you're not a parent of a teen, it's still important to take notice. Most likely you know of a teen somewhere or will encounter one at some point in the future. It's important that we all take notice and work to stop the violence.