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Prevent Teen Dating Violence By Katherine Young

During February, many people view it as a romantic month. But did you know February is also the month of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (TDVAM)? During teenage years, many young people begin forming relationships, and may not always understand how to properly identify negative interactions such as stalking or possessive actions such as your partner checking your phone text messages due to jealousy.

Love should never hurt. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “one in 11 female high school students reports being the victim of physical dating violence within the past year. One in 14 male high school students also reports being the victims of physical teen dating violence” (https://www.teendvmonth.org/steps-to-take-if-youve-been-the-victim-of-teen-dating-violence/). Learning how to positively communicate in any relationship is key—especially when as teenagers, the foundation for relationships is a continuation that is still being shaped from formative years.

Here are some helpful tips that can build up relationships for teens (and at any age):

  • Understand consent. Using a definition from the Center for Prevention of Abuse Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Toolkit, consent is “explicit permission or agreement to engage in (sexual) activity.”
  • Discuss and understand the warning signs of abuse.
  • Discuss and understand what healthy relationships look like verbally, physically, emotionally, and psychologically.
  • Create a foundation for your own interests, likes, and dislikes so that you are better able to communicate your beliefs.
  • Be open-minded to learning and growing so that if an issue does arise, you are able to communicate conflict and seek the right way to remedy the situation.

Relationships at any age should be healthy. Learning how to better navigate dating and relationships as a teenager will help cultivate nourishing relationships as an adult. Locally, for more information and classes, contact the Center for Prevention of Abuse at (309) 651-0551.

*Please note that the information shared is not exhaustive of the subject matter.