Dating violence is more common than people think, especially among teens and young adults: one in three teens in the US will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from someone they're in a relationship with before they become adults, and nearly half ( 43%) of college women report experiencing violent or abusive dating behaviors.
Every February, young people and their loved ones join together across the country for a national effort to raise awareness about the issue of teen dating violence through Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) . This annual, month-long push focuses on advocacy and education to stop dating abuse before it starts.
Loveisrespect.org is proud to announce the theme for TDVAM 2021 isKnow Your Worth . Know Your Worth is all about learning about healthy relationships and self-empowerment! Every young person is deserving of a healthy, loving relationship.
Learn what's essential in a healthy relationship
While no two relationships look the same and different people may define relationships in different ways, there are a few key things that must be present in all relationships for it to be healthy:
Respect l Equality l Honesty l Trust l Communication l Boundaries l Consent
Learn the warning signs of abuse
Relationships exist on a spectrum and it can sometimes be hard to tell when a behavior goes from healthy to unhealthy or even abusive.
Typical warnings signs include:
Have a courageous conversation
Whether on campus, online, at home, at work or hanging out, if you see something concerning or notice changes in someone close to you (like no longer posting, absent from class or not texting their friends anymore) - ask questions. Let them know you are a safe space to share their experience without any judgment.
It's okay to ease into it - try asking, "Hey, I have noticed you've not been on social media or texting as much, is everything okay?"
** Angie M. Tarighi is the CEO / Founder of Women's Self-Defense Institute providing self defense training, education awareness & personal protection products empowering women to fight back against crime.