Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
By Jenani Srijeyanthan
Coordinator of Dating Violence Prevention at Partnership Against Domestic Violence
As January quickly winds down the PADV Teen Scene would like you to remember one of our biggest months; February; Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month!
Teen Dating Violence (TDV) is a pattern of controlling and abusive behaviors that someone uses against their intimate partner. While dating violence falls under the umbrella of family violence (alongside domestic violence, elder abuse, and child abuse), dating violence is unique in that it affects individuals who are dating, and not married or living together. Teen dating violence encompasses college, high school and middle school students. Nearly 20.9% of female high school students and 13.4% of male high school students report being physically or sexually abused by a dating partner. 57% of teens know someone who has been physically, sexually, or verbally abusive in a dating relationship. Unfortunately, Georgia has the 3rd highest rate in the US of teens experiencing physical abuse from a dating partner.
Sadly, the fatality statistics also reflect the seriousness of this interpersonal violence. Of girls aged 15-19 that are murdered each year, 30% are killed by their husband or boyfriend. Within the State of Georgia, 37% of victims killed due to domestic violence began their relationships with the person that killed them between the ages 13 to 24.
Eight of ten girls who have been physically abused in their dating relationship continue to date their abuser. People may wonder why it is so difficult for teens to leave dating violence relationships, considering they aren’t married to or living with the perpetrator. The presence of power and control behaviors common in domestic violence are all present for dating violence victims, including the fact that leaving is the most dangerous part of the relationship. One in five teens who have been in a dating violence relationship said that their boyfriend threatened to hurt them or kill themselves if their girlfriend said she was going to end the relationship.
At PADV we’re dedicated to ending Teen Dating Violence. This month will be full of blogs, awareness,and information campaigns about how dating violence affects teenagers and young adults. Please share this information with those in your circle and encourage everybody to wear orange on February 11th to stand in solidarity with victims of teen dating violence. This is a devastating epidemic, we must learn more and use our power to keep young people safe.