Your Love is Unique, With Consent
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month-1 in 10 teens who date have been physically abused by someone they’ve gone out with.
“Your love is unique, with consent” is the theme for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) 2019. TDVAM was intended to provide parity to the three other crimes included in VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) signed into law in 1994. The other crimes are sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. The unanimously approved Senate Resolution that established NTDVAM calls on communities to “empower teens to develop healthier relationships” and promote programs and activities to draw attention to the issues that put teen victims at risk for “substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, suicide and adult re-victimization.” 1:3 teens will experience a physically violent dating relationship. Most teens know someone who has experienced a violent relationship but may not be aware of it since 33% of those engaged in a violent relationship never talk to anyone. This is a staggering number of youths who will be impacted by violence for their entire life time.
So what can be done to support teens in developing healthy relationship skills and building healthy relationships? The answer is surprisingly simple, “talk”. However, all victims of interpersonal violence, young or old, are reticent to share their pain.
Recognize the signs. Are any of the following happening in the life of someone you know?
- Checking cell phone or email without permission
- Constant put downs
- Extreme jealousy or insecurity
- Explosive temper
- Isolated from family or friends
- False accusations
- Mood swings
- Physically hurt in any way
- Pressured or forced sex
If the signs are there, have that difficult conversation starting with an open ended question for example, “You’ve seemed upset lately, how has it been going with your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner?” There are some other great resources for starting the conversation and keeping it going at loveisrespect.org.
There are numerous resources for youth experiencing dating violence.
Peace House (800) 647-9161
Utah Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 897-LINK
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-866-331-9474
Txt “loveis” to 22522 of information.
Apps: Love is Not Abuse, Circle of 6, One Love Foundation.