When Love Isn’t Love – Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

February 2, 2010 at 5:28 pm 2 comments

February – the month of Valentine’s, sweet tarts, little hearts, chocolates, flowers and romance – has a shadow side – Teen Dating Violence (TDV).

Sad but true, teen dating violence is common in February and around the year. Both girls and boys are engaged in acts of physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual violation in heterosexual and same sex relationships. A National Institute of Justice report at http://tinyurl.com/ycw572m shares statistics (from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2007 and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health): 1 out of 10 youth report being victims of physical violence in romantic relationships, and 2-3 out of 10 youth report being victims of psychological abuse.

Results of a State of Carolina survey found that while the rates were similar in girls and boys who report acting aggressively, the rates of female victimization for severe injury were much higher.

The Federal government has named February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.

We need to promote girls and boys’ awareness of the types of behaviors that are “over the line” as well as encourage the development of the skills they need to set healthy boundaries, communicate feelings and wants, address conflicts, and tolerate the full range of emotions that come along with dating and romantic feelings.

Raise this issue with girls and guys in your groups.  Ask them to define TDV and what they see going on amongst their peers, siblings, and in their own relationships. Explore the issues with them of how they learn these behaviors and what their beliefs are related to power and control, gender roles, and also, what family and society tell them to do.

One key prevention is to develop a DATING SAFETY PLAN with the girls and with the boys.  The Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence, http://www.acadv.org/dating.html#safety has information on components of a good plan, plus a Dating Bill of Rights.

In our Girls Circle Facilitator Activity Guide, Paths to the Future, Weeks 4 & 5 provide attention to girls’ empowerment, awareness, and safety around teen dating violence: Being the Queen of Your Own Body, and Dating Violence / Abusive Relationships.  These sessions are rich with exploration, decision making and communication skills building, and recognition of red flags.

In our Council Facilitator Activity Guide, Living a Legacy, Week 6, Healthy Relationships, invites boys to explore the meaning of healthy relationships and begins to breakdown roles and expectations, pressures, and communication skill building. Throughout each Council week, there are questions related to healthy masculinity and gender roles that challenge the need for boys to always feel control over their partners while providing boys more skills and awareness of emotions and communication skills.

As you work to raise awareness and prevent relationship harm, we extend to you our greatest appreciation and recognition.

This February, have a Happy Valentine’s Month of relationship well being.



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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. hjorthealth  |  May 23, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    […] When Love Isn’t Love – Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month […]

  • 2. fragileswan  |  February 7, 2010 at 3:21 am

    If a female teen wants to avoid teen dating violence, she shouldn’t date until she’s ready to get married, get pregnant, do housework and serve a man. You should also view my post on this very tender subject. I’m not going to spam you. You can find me if you try.


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