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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February is national Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM).

Anisha Bhatia, Senior Prevention Educator at Family Shelter Service of Metropolitan Family Services DuPage (FSS of MFSD), shares:

“One in three adolescents in the United States will experience some form of dating violence. This is a number that far exceeds other rates of youth violence.

“Dating violence is similar to domestic violence where one partner in the relationship demonstrates a pattern of behavior that will gain or maintain power and control over their other partner. There are similar forms of abuse a teenager might experience, such as physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual. However, young people may also experience digital abuse and stalking disproportionately to adult survivors. Additionally, there are other considerations with teenagers when it comes to their safety. Social status, reputation, peer pressure, experimentation, and more could all be a factor that is contributing to violence in their relationships.

“Dating violence affects both male and female teenagers alike. Physical dating violence occurs at similar rates with females and males; 1 in 11 females and 1 in 15 males report experiencing physical dating violence in the last year. Sexual violence is also another common form of abuse; every 1 in 9 females and 1 in 36 males report sexual dating violence in the last year. Dating violence can have short and long term effects on a developing teenager. Youth who experience teen dating violence are more likely to experience depression and/or anxiety, engage in substance use, or have suicidal thoughts.

“Teen dating violence is preventable! Prevention programming, that educates youth and counteracts the harmful misconceptions about relationships, is imperative for teenagers. Prevention programming will help them learn the skills to build and maintain healthy relationships going forward.”

As part of our promise, the prevention team at FSS of MFSD raises awareness and provides education that engages the entire community in creating a culture where violence is not tolerated.

Our prevention educators have designed comprehensive, age-appropriate, curriculum that addresses healthy and unhealthy relationships.

FSS of MFSD works with groups including:

  • Middle Schools
  • High Schools
  • Colleges
  • After School & Summer Programs
  • Faith Communities
  • Parent Education
  • Teen Groups
  • Community Organizations