Teen Dating Violence (DV) Prevention and Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it during the month of February.
The repercussions of teen dating violence are impossible to ignore – they hurt not just the young people victimized but also their families, friends, schools and communities. Throughout February, organizations and individuals nationwide are coming together to highlight the need to educate young people about dating violence, teach healthy relationship skills and prevent the devastating cycle of abuse.
The History of teenDVmonth
For years, young people across the nation have organized to put a stop to dating abuse. With their adult allies, they achieved a major victory in 2005 when the importance of addressing teen dating abuse was highlighted in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
The following year, Congress followed the lead of dozens of national, state and local organizations in sounding the call to end dating abuse. Both Chambers declared the first full week in February "National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Week." Then in 2010, they began dedicating the entire month of February to teen dating violence awareness and prevention.
TeenDVmonth, also known as the National Resource Center for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, is sponsored by Break the Cycle and loveisrespect as a collaborative effort to promote February as "teenDVmonth." Now in its third year as a full awareness month, Break the Cycle recently folded their "Let Your Heart Rule" public campaign for teens into the overall teenDVmonth 2103 campaign.
Break the Cycle is a leading national voice for the prevention of dating violence among teens and young adults. With partners ranging from MTV to the White House, Break the Cycle creates innovative programming to educate and engage youth to take a direct role in ending violence while simultaneously building the tools and resources for adults to lead youth on that journey. An official technical assistance provider for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women, Break the Cycle's teenDVmonth efforts reach more than one million youth and adults annually.
Loveisrespect is the most comprehensive online destination for healthy relationships. A project of Break the Cycle and the National Dating Abuse Helpline, loveisrespect provides information, tips and action strategies for young people to prevent and end dating abuse, along with 24/7 confidential peer-led support available by phone, text or chat
What is Dating Violence?
Dating violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors used to exert power and control over a dating partner.
A Pattern of Behavior
Calling dating violence a pattern doesn't mean the first instance of abuse is not dating violence. It just recognizes that dating violence usually involves a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time.
Every relationships is different, but the one thing that is common to most abusive dating relationships is that the violence escalates over time and becomes more and more dangerous for the young victim.
Who Experiences Dating Violence?
Any teen or young adult can experience violence, abuse or unhealthy behaviors in their dating relationships. A relationship may be serious or casual, monogamous or not, short-term or long-term. Dating abuse does not discriminate – it does not see gender, sexual identity, economic status, ethnicity or religious preference.
See more of the statistics on dating violence.
What Does Dating Violence Look Like?
Teens and young adults experience the same types of abuse in relationships as adults. This can include:
- Physical Abuse: Any intentional use of physical force with the intent to cause fear or injury, like hitting, shoving, biting, strangling, kicking or using a weapon.
- Verbal or Emotional Abuse: Non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, constant monitoring, humiliation, intimidation, isolation or stalking.
- Sexual Abuse: Any action that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including rape, coercion or restricting access to birth control.
- Digital Abuse: Use of technologies and/or social media networking to intimidate, harass or threaten a current or ex-dating partner. This could include demanding passwords, checking cell phones, cyber bullying, sexting, excessive or threatening texts or stalking on Facebook or other social media.
If you or a loved one is in a violent relationship, please get help. Visit loveisrespect for more information,chat with a peer advocate online, call 866.331.9474 or text "loveis" to 77054.
Ten Warning Signs of Abuse
While there are many warning signs of abuse, here are ten common abusive behaviors:
- Checking your cell phone or email without permission
- Constantly putting you down
- Extreme jealousy or insecurity
- Explosive temper
- Isolating you from family or friends
- Making false accusations
- Mood swings
- Physically hurting you in any way
- Telling you what to do
If you or a loved one is in a violent relationship, please get help..