According to the 2021 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey “over 71% of women and over 55% of men experienced intimate partner violence (sexual, physical violence and/or stalking) under the age of 25, and 1 in 4 women experience intimate partner violence prior to the age of 18.”
As I think about the increase in teen dating violence and intimate partner violence cases, I can’t help but think……
If “it takes a village to raise a child” (Numbers 11:1-17), how many more does it take to help a teen out of teen dating violence? A village means where we work, go to school, play and/or eat with those we know well, those we know casually and those we know intimately.
If we all take a moment to notice others and be willing to ask if they need help, how much better would our world be. A gym instructor, a cafeteria worker, a salesperson at a clothing shop, the lifeguard at the local pool in the neighborhood.
If we all took a moment to notice, ask and share what we see, would it be easier for teenagers who need help to reach out? Stop and think the next time you see a teen that is looking down at the ground; does not smile; appears to never be without their partner; not allowed to go anywhere without the girlfriend/boyfriend; appears to be crying and sad a lot; not allowed to say, do, or wear what they want; whose partner answers for them; does not seem happy despite being in a youthful relationship.
If everyone took the time to notice, talk, share, offer advice; how might this world we are in be a better place? How might we all in the village feel loved and cared for, even if our loved ones are not the ones showing us love. Imagine how resilient teens could be and healthier and happier adults we would have in our new and improved Village!
Resources for youth, advocates and preventionists:
- Know Your Worth Campaign guides: Including a TDVAM 2021 Action Guide, TDVAM 2021 Respect Week Guide, and TDVAM 2021 Social Media Guidance
- #1Thing Action Guide: This guide includes templates, recommendations, strategies, and tools for incorporating the message into public awareness activities and campaigns.
- PreventConnect Podcasts: PreventConnect talks with Arlene Vassell from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence and Angela Lee from love is respect. In part one they talk about the power of youth to prevent teen dating violence and the role of mainstream agencies and organizations to support youth, teens, and young adults. Part two, they discuss how to adapt to the new norm of prevention, engaging youth, and sustaining connections and relationships beyond TDVAM 2021.
- Sexual Assault Awareness Month: April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and this year’s campaign is all about digital consent and building safe online spaces!
- Vital Signs: Prevalence of Multiple Forms of Violence and Increased Health Risk Behaviors and Conditions Among Youths — United States, 2019. The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Vital Signs report examines the types of violence experienced by teens age 14 to 18 years old and highlights findings from the 2019 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). Almost half of teens (44.3%) experienced at least one type of violence and 1 in 7 (15.6%) of teens experienced at least two types of violence in the last year. The more violence young people experience, they are more likely to engage in risky behaviors.
- Serving Teen Survivors: A Manual for Advocates: This manual for advocates provides a brief overview on the unique issues young sexual violence survivors face. It includes tip sheets on working with teens, information on confidentiality and mandated reporting laws, and much more!
- Runaway & Homeless Youth and Relationship Violence Toolkit: Youth who have experienced homelessness have multiple histories of trauma, including physical and sexual violence. This toolkit organizes information, resources, tips and tools to serve runaway and homeless youth.
- Dating Matters: Understanding Teen Dating Violence Prevention: This free online course is for educators and others working with youth.
- Preventing and Responding to Teen Dating Violence: This collection of online resources helps with preventing and responding to teen dating violence
Organizations that can help:
- Love is Respect.org