February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Dating violence can happen to any teen in a romantic, dating or sexual relationship, anytime, anywhere. But it doesn’t have to happen at all. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Teens often think some behaviors, like teasing and name calling, are a “normal” part of a relationship. However, these behaviors can become abusive and develop into more serious forms of violence.
Dating violence can have a negative effect on health throughout life. Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. They might also engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as using tobacco, drugs and alcohol. Teens who are victims in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college.
• Young people 12-19 years old experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault
• Youth 18 to 19 years old experience the highest rates of stalking
• 15.5 million U.S. children live in families in which intimate partner violence occurred at least once in the past year.
Every day, teens and tweens deal with issues that members of older generations never contemplated. Technology has created an environment unlike any other that has become a platform for teens to navigate their sexuality and first sexual experiences.
• How do I get help if my boyfriend/girlfriend is pressuring me to send a sexy text?
• Should I break up with my boyfriend/girlfriend on Facebook?
• What do I do if someone is spreading online rumors about me?
Through the Teen Outreach Program at Advocates Against Family Violence, we were able to provide healthy relationship courses to 15,563 teens and 704 adults in 2017, in schools and community organizations. If you’re not sure how to talk to your teen about the importance of developing healthy, respectful relationships, call our advocates. We are here to help you make the difference in their lives!
If you or someone you know is in need of free assistance on their path to freedom, please call 459-4779 and ask to speak with an advocate or counselor.