February: Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

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February: Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February is known our world over as the month that hosts carnivals. It is also the time of the year when we celebrate love symbolically on the 14th, that is, Valentine’s Day. Amidst all this fun and good vibes, there is a darker side we would be remiss not to look at more closely. February has been selected as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) in an effort to raise consciousness of this social scourge. It is important to be aware of some of the facts surrounding it, that we may better educate our young adults about how, above all else, love is respect.

Chilling Stats

One in three teenagers is the United States will have experienced some form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse by the person they are dating or in a relationship with by the time they hit adulthood.
In the specific case of physical abuse, this figure wanes, but it is still significant: one in ten teens have reported physical abuse by their partner —whether it is a boyfriend or a girlfriend— in the last year alone.
Over two-fifths (43%) of women who date in college report violent and abusive dating behavior.

What Is Abuse

The gamut of forceful, abusive behaviors is so ample it would be next to impossible to list them all, but here are several types and common forms of violence or abuse thereof:

Physical Abuse

  • scratching, punching, biting, strangling, kicking, pushing, shoving
  • throwing something, such as a plate
  • using a gun, knife or any other weapon to threaten
  • smacking bottoms without consent
  • forced sexual acts
  • grabbing or holding down a person to prevent them from leaving
Emotional and/or Verbal Abuse

  • calling names and putting someone down
  • intentional embarrassment in public
  • threatening to expose secrets
  • preventing seeing/talking to family and friends
  • gaslighting techniques
  • using social media and cells phones to control, start rumors, and intimidate
Sexual Abuse

  • unwanted kissing and touching
  • unwanted violent sex
  • rape or attempted rape
  • refusing the use of condoms or restricting access to birth control
  • sex with very drunk or drugged, or unconscious, persons who have no will power or the ability to say yes or no
  • using sexual insults
Financial Abuse

  • giving an allowance and controlling expenditure
  • redirecting someone’s paycheck to another account
  • limiting access to shared accounts
  • forbidding someone to work or limiting their hours
  • maxing out credit cards without permission
  • giving presents or the like and expecting a return on investment

Digital Abuse

  • sending negative, insulting and threatening emails
  • sending unwanted, explicit pictures with a strong sexual undertone
  • pressing the partner to send explicit sexual videos
  • stealing passwords
  • using spyware, GPS or other forms of IT for monitoring purposes
  • online and digital stalking
There are a number of organizations devoted to the sole purpose of defining abuse, informing parents and teens about it. Putting an end to it is a whole other monster. But the resources are growing continuously, from awareness activities, to hotlines for reporting and psychological help, to a host of literature suggesting how to start a conversation with parents, friends or counselors… to actually providing pre-emptive solutions. Personally, we are impressed with Loveisrespect.org! Please check out their online, downloadable PDF toolkit answering to the slogan: Huddle Up.


  • https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/FebruaryToolkit2.aspx
  • https://www.loveisrespect.org/teendvmonth/
  • https://www.loveisrespect.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Huddle_Up_Print.pdf
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