February -- Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
Do you have a teenager that is starting to explore the world of dating? If so, it is important for you to be aware and to educate them about teen dating violence. According to the National Health Information Center more than 1 in 10 teens, who have been on a date, have been physically abused by their boyfriend or girlfriend.
According to an article posted by Northwest Community Healthcare, teen dating violence is defined as any physical, psychological/emotional, or sexual violence that occurs in a dating relationship. This violence doesn’t just happen in face to face interactions. Think about how many ways your son or daughter can communicate with their friends: text messaging, Skype, FaceTime, chat rooms, SnapChat, Facebook, Instagram, Yik Yak, the list could go on and on! These same avenues can be, and often are, used for psychological/emotional abuse.
Let’s talk more about what physical, psychological/emotional and sexual violence consists of.
Physical violence: can include pinching, hitting, shoving, punching, kicking or slapping.
Psychological or emotional violence: occurs when someone harms or threatens another individual’s self-worth. This can be done through name calling, bullying, embarrassing the other person on purpose, isolating the individual from his or her friends and family or shaming them.
Stalking: includes a pattern of harassing or threatening actions that are unwanted and causes fear in the victim.
Sexual violence: when someone forces sexual activity on someone else without their consent. Sexual violence also includes when an individual spreads negative rumors about the victim when they refuse to have sex.
When talking to your teenager about teen dating violence, consider starting out with the three points below.
- No matter what form, dating violence is never okay. It usually starts small and progresses in intensity.
- It is important to surround yourself with people who make you feel worthy. If someone is harming you, they are not worthy of your friendship.
- If someone is harming you emotionally or physically, it is not your fault. No one has the right to hurt another person. Talk to someone you trust so that you can get help.
February is a time for us to shine a spotlight on this topic. Awareness and education is the key to prevention. On January 29th, President Obama also declared his support for bringing awareness to this important topic. To check out his proclamation go to https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/01/29/presidential-proclamation-national-teen-dating-violence-awareness-and. If you would like to read more information on teen dating violence, check out www.loveisrespect.org.