February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
- 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their kids about domestic violence or sexual assault.
Talking about what it means to have a healthy relationship is the first step to preventing dating violence and abuse.
Dating violence is a form of Sexual Assault. The fact is:
- Young women ages 16-24 face the highest rates of sexual assault.
- 1 in 9 teen girls will be forced to have sex.
- 1 in 5 young women will be a victim of sexual assault while they are in college.
- Studies have found that teen dating violence affects 35% of adolescents
- 70% of victims (male and female) never report the incident.
- Repeat victimization is common: over a third of women who were raped as minors were also raped as adults.
As we consider the impacts of Teen Dating Violence (TDV), we must consider the various ways our society normalizes intimate partner violence. One student from a local school said, “…but isn’t this just dating?” when we were discussing over 100 texts she had received demanding where she was, what she was doing, and who she was with. This clearly is not “normal” and under the law could be defined as stalking and is certainly a red flag for potential future violence.
Project Woman provides several programs within the local schools and community including Safe Dates, All Ready, Bully Busters and Respect. ALL are designed build self-awareness in students and create an open dialogue that could change the pattern of their future. Consider how you can enter the conversation with the teens that are in your life. Being silent is not an option.
– Laura Baxter, Executive Director, Project Woman