Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
What is Teen Dating Violence?
In 2016 President Barack Obama made a presidential proclamation to make February National Teen Dating Violence and Prevention Month to “recognize the urgency needed in addressing this problem and recommit to preventing it by educating our youth about its dangers and consequences, and reaffirm the basic human right to be free from violence and abuse.”
Dating is a natural experience many teens face in their adolescence, and part of that experience includes learning how to be in a healthy relationship. However, many teens find themselves in unhealthy relationships that affect their physical and mental well-being. Teen dating violence is defined by:
- Emotional Abuse: This can include being called names, insults, threats, and being demeaning to one’s partner
- Physical Abuse: This can include hurting’s one partner with kicks, hitting, slapping, or other physical force
- Psychological Abuse: Using emotional manipulation or threats to harm or coerce the partner
- Sexual Abuse: Forcing one’s partner to engage in unwanted sexual acts, unwanted sexting, and engagement in sexual acts when one partner is unable to consent.
- Harassment: in-person, phone contact, or social media
According to the CDC, about 1 in 11 female teens and 1 in 15 male teens experience teen dating violence a year. And 26% of women and 15% of men experience domestic violence before they turn 18. Teens suffering from dating violence are at a higher likelihood of also suffering from:
- Physical harm
- Depression, mental illness, and suicide ideation
- Teen pregnancy
- Eating Disorders and Drug Abuse
- Additional domestic abuse
How to Prevent Teen Dating Violence
Everyone, including teens, has a right to a happy, healthy relationship. By educating our teens and keeping our own relationships with our children healthy and honest, we can remove the fear and stigma for teens needing to reach out for help. It is important to help your teen navigate safe dating practices to avoid domestic violence. Here are the ways you can help your teen avoid unhealthy relationships or help them seek the help they may need:
- Be open: Keep an open, honest, and ongoing conversation with your teen about what is going on in their lives.
- Do not judge: Many victims of teen domestic violence do not seek help because they are afraid of being punished by parents or guardians or because they are embarrassed.
- Educate: Educate your teen about respecting boundaries, learning how to say no, understand consent, and appropriate birth control.
- Get Help: If your child or teen has experience domestic violence be sure to seek out the help they need for their physical and mental well-being.
If you observe signs and symptoms of depression, physical abuse, or other indications of domestic violence in your child or teen and believe it may be a result of teen dating violence, call our admissions team today for a free and confidential screening at (805) 366-4000.
For additional information and resources, please visit our page for teen treatment programs in Ventura.