February is known as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). Teen dating violence is a systemic issue that impacts everyone from parents, teachers, friends, communities, and the teens themselves. It is estimated 1 in 10 teens will experience dating violence at some point. We must take this opportunity to amplify our efforts and shine a spotlight on this important issue by taking a minute to understand the significance of this issue for this is an epidemic of its own. Nationwide, youth ages 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault. That is approximately 10% of adolescents that report being the victim of physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner during the previous year.
Girls are particularly vulnerable to experience violence in their relationships and are more likely to suffer long-term behavioral and health consequences, including suicide attempts, eating disorders, and drug use. This does not mean males are not at risk either according to the Centers for Disease Control – 23% of males and 14% of females indicated that they had been part of a relationship that was violent or abusive.
Recidivism rates are alarmingly high for adolescents in abusive relationships frequently carrying out the same actions in unhealthy patterns of violence into future relationships. Indeed, children who are victimized or witnesses of violence bring this experience with them to the playground, the classroom, later into teen relationships, and ultimately, they can end up the victims or individual causing the harm. Although we are focused on the exasperated numbers in early teenagers, we must also look at nearly half (43%) of college women report experiencing violent or abusive dating behaviors. The month of February is typically marketed as a time to show off public displays of romance towards romantic partners however, it is time to look at how to create healthy relationships – rather than relationships filled with love-bombing and inconsistent displays of emotion – and model this to our children. Know your worth and pass it forward, learn about healthy relationships and self-empowerment. Every young person is deserving of a healthy and loving relationship.
In 2015, California began requiring public schools to provide educational programs about preventing, recognizing, and avoiding teen dating violence and abuse. These programs are also required to educate teenagers about sexual assault and sexual abuse. Join Radiant Futures in a commitment to bring awareness to Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) or contact us about our workshops and presentations regarding healthy relationships and healthy masculinity. Please contact 714-993-1939 ext. 114 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.