February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month (TDVAM). This means, for the whole month of February, organizations like the Domestic Violence Awareness Project are holding workshops and creating infographics about the signs and consequences of dating violence among teens. While the awareness campaign targets teenage boys and girls, dating violence is definitely an issue many women have experienced, with nearly 43% of college age women reporting that they have experienced dating abuse in the past.
According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, performed by the CDC in 2010, 30% of female rape victims were between the ages of 11 and 17 when they were victimized, while 51.1% of female rape victims report that their abuser was an intimate partner. These statistics show the alarming rate of dating violence and the young age of many victims of this type of violence.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, every year across the nation, nearly 1.5 million high school students are physically abused by a dating partner. Of female high school students, 20.9% report having been sexually or physically abused by a dating partner. Additionally, 35% of 10th graders reported having been physically or verbally abused.
The organization LoveIsRespect (LIR), an offshoot of the National Domestic Violence Hotline specifically offering assistance to teen victims of domestic violence, has proposed a series of events, workshops, and collaborative efforts for the week leading up to Valentine’s day, titled Respect Week, to help bring further attention to the campaign. For advocates wanting to bring awareness to the issue of teen dating violence, participating in and implementing these proposed activities, such as wearing orange on February 11th, are fun and easy ways to get involved.
This year’s TDVAM campaign is focused on “#1Thing” with the goal of helping teens learn at least one thing about dating violence. The idea behind the #1Thing campaign is that if teens band together and each share one thing they know about dating violence, they will be better able to identify and combat instances of dating violence in their lives.
#1Thing can be used to spread infographics about teen dating violence through platforms like Twitter and Instagram, made available by groups like LIR and the Domestic Violence Awareness Project. These graphics detail some of the statistics given above, but also include definitions of dating violence, self-care techniques, and resources for any teens that have experienced or are experiencing dating violence.
This February, consider #1Thing you can do to bring awareness to teen dating violence.