National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Wyllow Larsen, Reporter/photographer

Teen dating violence affects around 10% of our nation’s teen population; in other words, about 1 in 10 teens report being victim to assault by their partner. Teen dating violence is a term that is not widely talked about or given much thought, but it has shown to be a more common occurrence than many like to believe.

CDC says, “26% of women and 15% of men who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18.”

These numbers are overwhelming, especially considering the fact that most teens are unaware they are being abused by their partner until the later years of their life. 

A common misconception is that violence can only be categorized as physical. Teen dating violence (TDV) can present itself in a number of ways. It can start off small: a few seemingly harmless jokes, or a playful shove, but these can turn into bigger, more serious offences. 

Subtle actions like making fun of the way you look, picking at aspects of your personality, gaslighting, telling you not to hangout with your friends or telling you how you can/cant dress; these are all examples of emotional abuse and manipulation. These can begin to manifest themselves as physical acts of violence as well. 

 Those physical acts include, but are not limited to: hitting, hair pulling, spitting on, slapping, sexual abuse, stalking, and doing things without your consent. 

TDV is something that needs to be advocated for and talked about within communities, as it directly affects our students and teenage population. Loveisrespect.org says, “One in three teens in the US will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from someone they’re in a relationship with before they become adults”. 

It is important to teach teens how to recognize the warning signs of a toxic/abusive relationship early on, and this month is the perfect opportunity to do so: seeing as it is National TDV Awareness Month. Being an advocate doesn’t require you to be a victim, anyone can raise awareness. Anything from donating to TDV organizations, to just talking about TDV statistics and raising awareness within your friend groups, can be a crucial step towards educating teens about what should and shouldn’t be accepted within a relationship; fearing your partner and being unhappy in your relationship should not be normalized, especially within our youth.

As for TDV victims, or teens who are questioning whether or not they are a victim, there are countless resources and outlets to answer your questions, all it takes is you to speak up. As Teendv.org says, “Remember, love has many definitions, but abuse isn’t one of them.”