31 Jan A Safer World for Future Generations
February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Throughout the United States, approximately 10% of adolescents reported being the victim of physical violence by an intimate partner in the last year. Unfortunately, there are many incidents that go unreported, as youth are often embarrassed, scared to tell an adult, or even confused by the definition of abuse in a teen relationship.
Teens often think some behaviors like lovebombing (excessive showering of affection and attention) or displays of jealousy are forms of love, but these behaviors can develop into more serious types of abuse, such as stalking, physical violence, or sexual assault.
Adolescents in abusive relationships can carry these unhealthy patterns into their future relationships as adults. Additionally, children who have experienced violence in their own homes will often find themselves in unhealthy relationships as they grow up. Studies show that girls are even more vulnerable to experiencing relationship violence and are more likely to suffer from other long-term consequences, such as alcohol and drug use, developing eating disorders, or having suicidal thoughts
In order to break these patterns, caring and supportive adults must intervene when red flags are visible. You can make a difference in a teen’s life just by reaching out. Interacting with youth and creating a safe space to talk about what a healthy relationship looks like can have a lasting impact in the life of a young person.
WTLC’s community outreach program includes the Teen Personal Empowerment Program. During this 6-week peer group, youth practice healthy communication, develop self-esteem, learn about the red flags of unhealthy dynamics, and build the foundation to have safe, healthy relationships. If you know a teen that may benefit from this group, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!