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:

1-800-799-7233