Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
By Dr. Craig Gilbert, Violence Prevention Office
/ Published February 10, 2020
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --
In February of each year, we celebrate Valentine’s Day, a day on which people of all ages celebrate love and affection in their relationships. However, February is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month because of the negative impact harmful relationships could have on adolescents. TDVAM is a national effort to increase awareness of dating violence in teens, promote support for teens and encourage communities to prevent teen violence in all of its ugly forms. Ultimately, the goal is to decrease the occurrence of dating violence among teens.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four teens experiences verbal, emotional, physical or sexual dating violence each year. Among high school teens who have been in a relationship, one in five girls and one in 10 boys report experiencing physical and/or sexual dating violence annually.
Besides the obvious risk of harm, teen dating violence can significantly impact teens in other ways. The CDCP suggests young people who experience dating violence may also experience symptoms of depression and anxiety and engage in unhealthy behaviors involving tobacco, drugs alcohol and thoughts of suicide. The CDCP has identified potential risk factors that may lead to dating violence. Factors that may contribute to dating violence include individual, peer, partner, parent and neighborhood influences.
The CDCP recommends a comprehensive community-driven approach to stop violence before it starts. At the center of this effort is teaching teens skills to identify what a healthy relationship looks like, so that they believe they deserve healthy relationships and ultimately engage in positive behaviors. When positive, safe and healthy teen dating and peer relationships abound, teens and their communities benefit from enhanced school performance; a decrease in antisocial and unhealthy behaviors (e.g. drug and alcohol use); positive self-image; increased empathy and improved interpersonal, communication, negotiation and leadership skills. Resources are available on the CDCP Dating Matters website.
Please help get the word out to our teens. If they or someone they know is in an abusive dating relationship, they can receive free and confidential help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 866-331-9474 or TTY 1-866-331-8453. The Helpline also has peer advocates available for live chat from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. EST. Confidential help is also available through the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.
For additional information, please contact the Dover AFB Violence Prevention Office at (302) 677-3275.