Love is…not abuse: Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

As the video above shows, love is many things…but it’s not abuse.

Educators, advocates and community groups will try to stress that point during this month’s Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.

The first Teen Dating Violence Awareness month was first recognized by Congress in 2010, an expansion of the awareness week, which started in 2006.

Defined as “the physical, sexual, or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship, as well as stalking,” teen dating violence can occur in person or electronically, between a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, almost 10 percent of high school students reported being assaulted by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months before the survey.

And the consequences? From the CDC:

“As teens develop emotionally, they are heavily influenced by their relationship experiences. Unhealthy, abusive or violent relationships can cause short term and long term negative effects, or consequences to the developing teen.  Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to do poorly in school, and report binge drinking, suicide attempts, and physical fighting.  Victims may also carry the patterns of violence into future relationships.”

Catching and breaking the cycle of exposure to violence early to limit its impact on the future is important. The CDC’s 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that about one in five women and one in seven men who ever experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced partner violence between the ages of 11 and 17.

Stick with us throughout the month as we explore the issue of exposure to teen dating violence – what it is, its impact and what people are doing to stop it.

And head over to our website for an entire list of resources for parents, teens and advocates.


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