Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner (Davis, Antoinette, 2008) and 57% of teens know someone who has been physically, sexually, or verbally abusive in a dating relationship. (Liz Claiborne Inc., 2005). Teen dating violence, a pattern of destructive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner, is increasingly recognized as a widespread community issue affecting young people across gender, sexual orientation, race and culture.
While there are many similarities to domestic violence, young people may experience increased risk and vulnerability because of their life circumstances and life stage. Youth may feel intense peer pressure and fear from the disapproval of adults, adding barriers to seeking help. Teens have less recourse to legal remedies and youth in unstable living situations are at increased risk for exploitation. In addition, the large role of technology in many teens’ lives can be used as a tool by abusers that not only complicates the abuse, but allows it to stay more hidden.
Mutual respect, equality and open communication can be modeled as healthy relationship values and positively reinforced among peers and across generations. Those values are just a starting point. Think about and discuss what a healthy relationship means to you! Challenging and analyzing messages about gender roles, violence and other stereotypes are also powerful tools in reducing violence now and creating healthy relationships for the future.
- February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month. Read the Press Release and get involved in your area!
- The next Teen Summit will be held in 2014. Teens and adults working with teens are welcome! Click on the link to see the agenda from the last summit to learn more. Check this website for more information to come!