February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). This February marks the 10th year of TDVAM, and this year’s themes are “Outrage into Action,” and “#1Thing.” The Outrage into Action campaign calls for change and focuses on what young people can do to create change and raise awareness. The #1Thing campaign is designed to meet teens where they are by encouraging young people to learn one thing about teen dating violence and healthy relationships and share that knowledge with a friend.
Teen dating violence includes physical, emotional, sexual, or digital abuse in a current dating relationship or by a former dating partner. Young people experience violence at alarming rates. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey:
- Over 71% of women and over 55% of men first experienced intimate partner violence (sexual or physical violence, and/or stalking) under the age of 25.
- One in four women first experienced intimate partner violence prior to the age of 18.
- Over 80% of women and over 70% of male rape victims experienced their first completed or attempted rape under the age of 25.
- Sexual violence is usually committed by someone the survivor knows. Over 28% of girls who experienced sexual violence under the age of 18 were raped by a current or former intimate partner.
- Youth who experience sexual violence as children or teens are more likely to experience sexual violence in adulthood. Thirty-five percent of women who were raped as minors were also raped as adults, compared to 10% of women raped as an adult who were not raped as minors.
Experiencing violence in youth can have long-lasting impacts, making it all the more critical to prevent violence before it occurs. By promoting social norms that protect against violence (such as bystander programs and engaging men and boys) and supporting survivors, we can lessen the impact of sexual violence and prevent future victimization.
A healthy relationship requires open communication, safety, trust, and respect. Teaching children and young people about healthy relationships and consent should start early with age-appropriate messages through childhood and teen years. TDVAM is an opportunity to promote healthy relationships and consent, which are key to preventing sexual violence. Young people learn about relationships from those around them, so it is important to model healthy relationships and ask for consent. Advocates can reinforce what consent looks like by educating parents, caregivers, and others on how to practice everyday consent and about healthy relationships. Advocates can also practice this by respecting a young person’s wishes or choices when working with them.
Get engaged! Respect Week is February 10-14th. Advocates and others working with youth can use the resources below to help promote healthy relationships and consent with the young people they work with.
Resources for youth, advocates, and preventionists:
- #1Thing Teen Action Guide: This guide helps young people looking to engage friends in preventing teen dating violence. The guide explains what a healthy relationship looks like, describes what abuse looks like, talks about consent, and provides information on how to get involved.
- #1Thing Respect Week Action Guide: Respect Week is February 10-14th. This guide explains how to raise awareness about dating violence and healthy relationships during Respect Week and beyond.
- Outrage into Action DIY Guide: This guide highlights activities young people can take part in during National Days of Action throughout #TDVAM20.
- Outrage into Action Shareable Graphics and PDFs: These shareable graphics and PDFs contain facts and statistics about dating abuse for high schoolers and college-aged youth.
- Serving Teen Survivors: A Manual for Advocates: This manual for advocates provides a brief overview on the unique issues young sexual violence survivors face. It includes tip sheets on working with teens, information on confidentiality and mandated reporting laws, and much more!
- Dating Matters: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Prevention: This free online course is for educators and others working with youth.
- Preventing and Responding to Teen Dating Violence: This collection of online resources helps with preventing and responding to teen dating violence.
- I Ask: Sexual Assault Awareness Month: April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year’s campaign is all about consent!
- Love is Respect.org: A project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, they are a resource to empower youth to prevent and end dating abuse.
- Break the Cycle: Supports young people, 12-24 years old, in building healthy relationships and creating a culture without abuse.
- That’s Not Cool.com: Helps young people draw a “digital line” about what is and what is not okay in their relationships
Resources for parents and caregivers:
Learning about healthy relationships and consent starts young. Parents can use the following resources to learn how to talk to their children and teens about healthy relationships and consent
- #1Thing Helpers Action Guide: This guide for parents and educators, or other adults involved in a teen’s life, includes information about teen dating violence and how to be a supportive person in a teen’s life.
- I Ask How to Teach Consent Early: This postcard contains tips for parents on how to teach and model consent
- Parent Tip Sheet: How Do I Help My Child?: This card provides tips for parents on how to help a child in an unhealthy relationship
- Healthy Communications with Kids: This resource shares information for parents about how to incorporate consent in everyday interactions with children.
- Parents Postcard: This postcard provides information for parents about teaching children and teens age-appropriate lessons about consent and healthy relationships.