Studies show one in three high school students experience physical and/or sexual violence that is perpetrated by someone they are dating or going out with. 1 A startling 43 percent of dating college women and 28 percent of college men say they experience violent and abusive dating behavior.2 During February’s Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM), national, state and local domestic violence and sexual assault organizations are inviting people to “Huddle Up for Healthy Relationships” and work together to prevent dating abuse. We want you to join us in this campaign, too, and celebrate healthy relationships with us!
“Dating violence is preventable, especially if education about healthy relationships starts early,” says William Wubbenhorst, Associate Commissioner for the Family and Youth Services Bureau within the Administration for Children and Families. “This month and beyond, we want educators, youth, and community leaders to join along with middle, high school and college students, to creatively promote messages about dating violence prevention, and raise awareness of the differences between healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships.”
Dating abuse is more common than people think and can include:
• Physical and sexual abuse
• Verbal/emotional abuse and controlling behaviors
• Digital abuse (the use of technologies such as cell phones and social networking to abuse and control)
Anyone can help promote positive teen relationships. Join the conversation with national and local domestic violence experts and help spread awareness to keep teens safe. Use your voice, write and post blogs, participate in Twitter polls, shoot videos and recognize Wear Orange for Love Day during Respect Week February 11 – 15. If you are a parent, you can learn about dating abuse and how to support your teen with a guide we created in both English and Spanish.
To get started, download the Huddle Up for Healthy Relationships Toolkit on loveisrespect.org for #TeenDVMonth engagement ideas. We have plenty of materials you can use in your school, community or home. Follow #HuddleUp for #HealthyRelationships on social media.
Here is a glance at some key TDVAM activities:
• Jan. 31: Join the kick-off webinar “State of Dating Violence: Huddle Up for Healthy Relationships” – The National Domestic Violence Hotline and a spokesperson from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will ignite the month-long campaign with a discussion on the epidemic of dating abuse, current dating trends among young people, what to look for in a healthy relationship, and where to go for support when you or someone you care for is in an abusive relationship. Watch here.
• Feb. 1: Campaign participants are encouraged to take selfie-style, smart phone videos telling, “What a healthy relationship looks like to me” and post them on social media using #HuddleUp for #HealthyRelationships to generate online conversation.
• Feb. 11-15: It’s Respect Week! Among other activities outlined in the toolkit, students are urged to make an announcement on their school’s public address system and website on February 11. Share that it’s time to celebrate healthy relationships and to get educated about unhealthy behaviors.
• Feb. 12: Wear #orange4love and share on social with a statement that you take a stand against abuse and support healthy relationships.
This project is funded in part by Grant Number 90EV0426 from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Administration for Children and Families or the U.S. Department of HHS.
1 Vagi, K.J., Olsen, E.O.M., Basile, K.C., & Vivolo-Kantor, A.M. (2015). Teen dating violence (physical and sexual) among US high school students: findings from the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. JAMA Pediatrics, 169 (5), 474-482.