Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Week

Teen dating violence is perhaps one of the most complex and pervasive problems facing teenagers today. February 2-6, 2009 is known as "National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week" per Senate Resolution 710.

The crime of teen dating violence, including physical, emotional and sexual assault, and harassment via texting, email or Instant Messaging is a cruel reality for many American teenagers - a reality which many parents are unaware.

Listed below is a recent survey conducted by LIx Clairborne, Inc in June 2008 on teen dating violence. The age group was 11-14 with the survey conducted online between January 2 and January 18, 2008. There were a total of 1,043 tweens, 523 parents and 626 teens who completed the survey. The results range from disturbing to frightening:

  • More than 1 in 3 11-12 year olds (37%) say they have been in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.
  • 62% of tweens who have been in a relationship say they know friends who have been verbally abused (called stupid, worthless, ugy, etc) by a boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • 1 in 5 13-14 year olds (20%) say they know friends and peers who have been struck in anger (kicked, hit, slapped or punched) by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Only half of all tweens (51%) claim to know the warning signs of a bad/hurtful relationship.
  • More than 3x as many teens (20%) as parents (6%) admit that parents know little or nothing about the tweens' dating relationships.
  • 22% of teens say they were pressured to do things they did not want to do, compared to 45% of teens who had sex by age 14.
  • 69% of all teens who had sex by age 14 said they have gone through one or more types of abuse in a relationship.

    Only by becoming involved and opening lines of communication can we ensure as parents that are children will be safe. Take the time this week to talk to your child, regardless of age, and plant the seeds of safety.

    For more information, please check out the following links.

    To learn more about teen dating violence statistics...

    Take the quiz to see if you are at risk of teen dating violence

    For more resources on teen dating violence...

    **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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