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Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month

By: Arezoo Shahbazi Roa, Prevention & Community Education Director 

One in every three teenagers will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse in a romantic relationship. Unfortunately, due to a lack of education on topics such as relationship violence, boundaries and consent, many young individuals may not recognize that a relationship may be unhealthy, or that it is abusive. In fact, some teens may perceive behaviors like teasing and name-calling as normal aspects of a relationship. What they might not realize is that these seemingly harmless behaviors can become abusive once normalized, escalating into severe forms of violence which often go unreported out of fear or lack of awareness. These experiences and patterns lead to the cycle of abuse, one relationship after the next, as they grow into adulthood.  

Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (TDVAPM) serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of recognizing, addressing, and preventing abuse in adolescent relationships. As we observe TDVAPM in February, we must promote the fundamental elements that make a healthy relationship. In addition to the green flags we highlighted last month, it’s also essential to emphasize the importance of consent within a relationship –  a topic often overlooked in conversations with teens. 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is NOT an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue, which is why it is important to educate teenagers and caring parents about relationship violence to foster healthy connections in high schools and middle schools. Teen dating violence often involves a lack of respect for personal boundaries, control issues, and manipulative behaviors. It is vital, especially during developmental teenage years, that people understand that consent given at one point does not imply consent for everything. And a firm “no” means exactly that—it is not an excuse to pressure a partner into doing something they are uncomfortable with 

Teens must know that love shouldn’t hurt, and love should not cause them to change who they are and what they stand for to keep a relationship. By educating and empowering teens and survivors, we aim to prevent and reduce the alarming statistics surrounding teen dating violence, fostering an environment for safe and healthy relationships. Integrating the concept of consent into discussions about healthy relationships serves as a powerful tool for preventing and addressing dating violence among teens. 

Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month is an opportunity for individuals and communities to come together to address a critical issue affecting the well-being of adolescents.  

During the month of February, join us for our #HEALTHYLOVE campaign in spreading awareness about teen dating violence. Be sure to attend our Love Shouldn’t Hurt conference, request a presentation, and explore our website for more opportunities to participate. By educating yourself and those around you, we can make positive change and become ambassadors for healthy relationships.  

If you or someone you know is beginning to withdraw from loved ones, showing more negative emotions such as depression or anger, or is clearly in a one-sided relationship – there might be cause for alarm. 

At Human Options we offer a 24/7 hotline where victims and survivors can speak with an empathetic, caring advocate to help them navigate resources and validate their experience.  

For more information call our hotline at 877-854-3594 or visit humanoptions.org.   

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