Teen Dating Violence Awareness 

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. 

Take Action!

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:

  • Checking your phone, email, or social media accounts without your permission. 
  • Putting you down frequently, especially in front of others. 
  • Isolating you from friends or family (physically, financially, or emotionally).
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity. 
  • Explosive outbursts, temper, or mood swings. 
  • Any form of physical harm. 
  • Possessiveness or controlling behavior. 
  • Pressuring you or forcing you to have sex.

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?"

There are so many great resources

love is respect has a lot of resources and learning materials for young people and adults, as well as live digital chat. Or, 24/7 you can call 1-866-331-9474 or text LOVEIS to 22522! Parents can even call, chat or text themselves to understand what someone may be going through and learn how to help.

Crisis Text Line , text HOME to 741741 and get support with a variety of issues including abuse, depression and thoughts of suicide.

RAINN is a 24/7 sexual assault hotline providing victim services for survivors of sexual assault. Call 800-656-HOPE or live chat at rainn.org

Runaway Safelineis here for young people thinking about running away or who already have. They can help teens get to safety or back home too.  Call 1-800-786-2929 or live chat at www.1800runaway.org.

** 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.

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