Written by Simone Alston
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, also known as TDVAM. TVDAM is a month dedicated to adolescents who have experienced abuse during a romantic relationship. Teen dating violence ranges from physical, emotional, sexual, psychological violence, and stalking while dating. Teen dating violence is the most common type of abuse teenagers endure. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, about 1.5 million high schoolers are abused by their partner in the United States. Dating violence can occur online and in person no matter a person’s gender, social status, racial/ethnic identity, and sexuality.
Teenagers who abuse their partner during a relationship have usually witnessed violence at home, dealt with trauma, bully others, are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and believe mistreating their partner is okay.
A victim of teen dating violence are at a higher risk of using drugs or alcohol, experiencing depression or anxiety, isolating themself from loved ones, and having suicidal thoughts.
In order to prevent teen dating violence, we must advocate having safe, healthy relationships, look up to good role models, and create secure environments for others and ourselves. Supporting a survivor of abuse by letting them know that you are there for them and that there are many beneficial resources that could help them is essential to their recovery after an abusive teen dating experience.