Additionally, I challenge everyone who reads this to have a conversation about teen dating violence with someone- your mom, your coworker, your child, anyone! After you do, tell EVE about your conversation in the comments below.
Other than the fact that President Obama said so (see the Presidential Proclamation here), why is teen dating violence awareness and prevention important?
Teens that experience abuse in relationships are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, unhealthy use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, suicidal thoughts, and continued victimization by abusive partners in future relationships. Approximately 1 in 3 teens experience some form of abuse in a dating relationship. That is too many teenagers!
Many teens are experiencing dating relationships for the first time as well as developing their own identities. Combined with mixed messages about what romantic relationships are supposed to look like, the pressures of peers and parents, exploring sexuality; dating in adolescence can be downright confusing. Because of all the unfamiliarity teens may be less able to recognize the warning signs of dating violence.
Dating violence is defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as, “physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking.” It can occur between former or current dating partners, in person or through other media (phone, internet, etc.)
Abusive physical behaviors may include: hitting, kicking, or pushing
Abusive sexual behaviors may include: coercing, verbally or physically, a partner to engage in any sexual act
Abusive psychological/emotional behaviors may include: isolation from friends, name calling and bullying, jealousy, monitoring texts/emails/messages
Abusive behaviors can manifest in many different ways. Often times they start out subtly and grow more severe over time. A common example is a partner who encourages you to spend less time with your friends/family because they want to spend as much time as possible with you. This request could feel flattering at first and might not be problematic unless it grows into a frequent occurrence or is met with anger when ‘disobeyed’.
Special note for parents! It might seem awkward to talk with your teen about relationships, especially if you’re met with some (or a lot of) resistance, but kids actually do listen and learn from you! Healthy relationships are one of many important things you can share with your teen. Visit Futures without Violence for tips.
Questions are welcome, comment below!