Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Written By: Jennifer, Whatcom County Advocate

February is known as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, with 2020 being the 10th year of bringing awareness to such an important issue. According to Love is Respect, dating violence among teenagers is incredibly common – more so than most people realize. 1 out of 3 teenagers will be involved in an abusive relationship. These teens will experience physical, sexual, mental, or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with – someone they love and should be able to trust – before they become adults. Those that are age 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault; girls in particular are vulnerable to experience violence (Youth). 

Experiencing teen dating violence can lead to substance abuse, depression, and teen suicide, as well as have countless other effects. It can be easier for adults to recognize signs of teen dating violence, so it’s important to share this knowledge with teenagers so that they are aware of what it can look like from the inside and have the ability to end an abusive relationship before it escalates. Teen Dating Violence Month lists the following as teen dating abuse:

  • Refusing them to spend time with other friends or family members
  • Pressure to have sex before they are ready or willing
  • Making the teen feel guilty for not having sex
  • Eavesdropping on private conversations, texts, and emails
  • Hitting, slapping, biting, or punching
  • Yelling, screaming, and inflicting emotional distress, and
  • Blaming the teen for failures in the relationship.

National Domestic Violence Hotline:


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"With the help of VSS, you are empowered and encouraged to fight back and be pro-active. Then your conscience can be more at peace because you know you have taken some action to protest crimes inflicted on your loved one. It is sometimes your only consolation."

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David Rose

Anchor, Q13 News and Host, Washington’s Most Wanted

“VSS is there when the unthinkable happens.  When a police officer knocks on your door and gives you tragic news, VSS helps navigate the court system, which can be very confusing. VSS is compassion, caring, and commitment. Commitment to once justice is done that victims and their families can move forward with their lives.”

Jennifer Gregerson

Mayor, City of Mukilteo

“VSS has been our partner in recovery and healing and a key part in what makes Mukilteo Strong. VSS has been a trusted advocate for the victims that have suffered so much in the community.  I’m so grateful to VSS as our partner in strength.”

Jon Nehring

Mayor, City of Marysville

“VSS is there for people in their darkest hour. At a time when they need an advocate and friend, VSS steps in to fill that gap and help them begin their journey back to some sense of normalcy.” 

Myrle Carner

Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound

“This thing about closure. There is never really closure in a victim’s life but VSS helps individuals to get closer to that and that’s critical because the cops and the judicial system just move on to another case because they don’t have time. Victims live with this trauma forever so VSS is with them for as long as they need the services. VSS takes the time, more importantly, they really care."

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