census 2020

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, or #TDVAM2020 on social media, is an effort of the Dads’ Resource Center.

Photo: February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Courtesy of Dads’ Resource Center

By Janine Faust

This February, several nonprofits and health organizations are reminding young people that expressing affection in a healthy way goes beyond buying your partner chocolates on Valentine’s Day. 

“February is best known as the month we celebrate love,” the State College-based Dads’ Resource Center said in a press release. “But it’s also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, a time to recognize the potentially dark side of young relationships and promote positive solutions.” 

Organizations focusing on topics ranging from parenting to mental health are raising awareness about teen dating violence this month. Several local, state, and national organizations are providing additional information and resources online about healthy teen dating practices and combating abuse as part of the social media campaign: #TDVAM2020. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines teen dating violence (TDV) as abuse against one’s partner including “physical violence, sexual violence, psychological aggression, stalking,” and “texting or sharing photos without the subject’s consent.” Data from both the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey from the CDC points out that “nearly 1 in 11 female teens and about 1 in 15 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence in the last year.” Those numbers shift to 1 in 9 females and 1 in 36 male high schoolers in regard to those who have experienced dating violence of a sexual nature.

Former President Barack Obama declared February to be Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in 2013. 

“This month we stand with those who have known the pain and isolation of an abusive relationship, and we recommit to ending the cycle of violence that affects too many of our sons and daughters,” President Obama said in his 2013 presidential proclamation.  

The Dads’ Resource Center, which specifically outlined how fathers can address teen dating violence in their press release, suggests visiting loveisrespect.org to learn more about different types of dating abuse or the CDC’s Dating Matters page for strategies to promote healthy teen relationships. 

“Pre-teen boys especially need appropriate modeling behavior before they enter the dating arena,” Dads’ Resource Center said in the press release. “But so too for girls who need guidance, awareness and self-confidence as they begin to navigate the murky waters of intimate relationships.”

Related:

Gwen’s Girls to hold 2nd Annual Teen Dating Violence Awareness event

What can you do to help youth stay active and healthy?