February is National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month. Like adults, many teens will experience violence in their dating relationships. Statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reveal that one in three adolescents in the United States will be a victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse in their dating relationships. Nearly 80 percent of girls who have been physically abused by their partners continue to date their abuser. And two-thirds of teens who are in an abusive relationship never tell anybody about the abuse. It is time to make this private matter public.
Recognizing abuse in a relationship can be difficult, particularly for adolescents. There are many types of abuse that teens experience. Here are ten of the most common:
• Checking your cell phone, e-mail or social networking sites without permission
• Constant put-downs
• Extreme jealousy or insecurity
• Isolating you from your friends and/or family
• Explosive temper
• Mood swings
• Physically hurting you in any way
• Telling you what to do
• Financial control
Teens have the right to a safe and healthy relationship.There are many ways that we as parents can help.
• Encourage school leaders to offer students effective dating violence prevention curricula.
• Take the time to educate yourself and others about teen dating violence. The following websites offer information about teen dating violence and what you can do to help:
• Know the laws that pertain to your state.
You can make a difference!