Love is Respect: February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

‎Recently I have been covering a lot of news regarding domestic violence like a new bill in New Hampshire that would require police to witness violence firsthand before making an arrest.

Too often when we think about domestic violence, however, we think of adults but as this month – Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month – reminds us abuse can happen in relationships of any age.

In fact, did you know that in the U.S. 1 in 3 teens will experience some type of dating abuse in their lifetime or that 1 in 5 teens who have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner?

That’s not all. The statistics when it comes to dating violence among teenagers is startling.

  • 80% of teens say they know someone who has been controlled by a partner
  • 60% of teens say they know someone who has been physically abused
  • 29% of teens say they themselves have been physically abused by someone they were dating
  • 29% of girls who have been in a relationship say they’ve been pressured to have sex or to engage in sexual acts when they didn’t want to
  • 49% of high school and college aged males report using at least one incident of physical or sexual violence against an intimate partner
  • 1 in 4 teens who has been in a serious relationship say their boyfriend or girlfriend has tried to prevent them from spending time with friends and family

Experiencing dating violence as a teenager has a number of negative consequences like depression and poor performance in school, engaging in unhealthy behaviors like using drugs and alcohol, and thinking about or attempting suicide. Teenagers who experience dating violence are also more likely to develop an eating disorder and are at a greater risk of victimization when they are older.

Clearly raising awareness of teen dating violence is of utmost importance. We need to talk openly with teenagers about the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships so they can learn to recognize warnings signs and tell a trusted adult if they need help.

If you know a teenager in your life who may be at risk and you want to help them, you can direct them to the Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474.

For more information you can also visit

Related from Care2:

New Bill Would Require Police to Witness Violence Firsthand Before Making Arrest

Teens Who Talk Back to Mom More Likely To Resist Peer Pressure

Study Finds New Trend in Group Sex Among Teenage Girls

Photo credit: Photo by David Goehring used under a Creative Commons license.


Eternal Gardener
Eternal G5 years ago

Yes it's a sad world ....

Robyn Brice
Robyn Vorsa5 years ago

We need to teach our children, both boys and girls that violence and abuse is not acceptable.

I Care For The World

The Teenager Had Just Been Rescued From Weeks of Imprisonment and Torture at the Hands of Her Husband's Family


family to pay a debt but she refused to become a prostitute to bring in more money. She was cut, burned with cigarettes, beaten to a pulp and many of her fingernails were ripped out. She was barely alive when police found her


Mary S.
Mary S5 years ago

It is important to note that teen disrespect/control and violence happens to both girls and boys. My teenage foster son came home from school one day with a black eye, that his (very diminutive) girlfriend gave him. He would not have dreamed of hitting her back as that is what his father would have done and he wanted to be nothing like his father. The school essentially refused to deal with the incident, and since his girlfriend was expecting a child at the time, I think everyone excused her behaviour as stress related and forgivable. Had Shawn hit his girlfriend, he would have been suspended from school over it. Not that he shouldn't have been but we need to treat everyone fairly. It is time to look for the much more hidden violence against teen boys by their partners, both male and female.

The other point I think is important on this issue is the lack of positive role models for teenagers in relationships. How many kids today have two happily married/partnered parents together at home to show them how to treat one another? Most of my seven year old's friends have divorced parents, one or more step/half siblings (with different fathers/mothers) and one or both parents spouting horror stories about the other to everyone who will listen. How can anyone learn how to treat the person you are learning to love if all you see are bad examples?

Zuzana K.
Zuzana K5 years ago

That's why I do not at all regret I waited until university with my love life :)

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

My ex started abusing me when I was 15.... in fact my ONLY abusive relationship (3) were when I was younger and in my teens

Isabel Ramirez
Isabel Ramirez5 years ago

thank you for sharing. Wish i knew about this earlier. My then high school boyfriend was a complete douchebag to me. I don't know why I stayed with him for almost 4 years. Glad that's over but wish there was more help for me then

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for the article

Tony C.
Tony C5 years ago

A class in RESPECT AND RESPONSIBILITY should be taught from Grade one to graduation, children should be taught that anything is permissible as long as it does not hurt themselves or anybody else. Common sense would dictate that if children are taught at a very early age that every child has their own strengths and weaknesses and that they should use their strengths to help not tease or bully others. It should not matter if a child comes from a FAMILY of a mother and father, 2 mothers or 2 fathers as long as they are loved.
Sex Education should be taught from LGBT, Contraceptives, Masturbation and all forms of sex. Let us face it whether we like it or not children are curious and are having sex earlier and earlier. Children should be taught the joys and the consequences of having sex ( Pregnancy,STD, AIDS ) But you say when will this be taught. Cut out Geography or History early on then put it back in and remove Geometry and Algebra. They can learn this in college if need be. I believe this is a solution. Nipping it in the Bud so that Bullying, Sexual Assault, and many others will be greatly diminished if not eradicated. It is my belief that when children graduate with these principals where they are taught RESPECT for themselves and others and to take RESPONSIBILITY for their actions. If children grow up with these principals I believe business and government would benefit greatly. Within a few generations this world would be a much better place to live in.

Hannah L.
Hannah L.5 years ago

Well said.