February is Teen Dating Violence (TDV) Awareness month. Communicating with teens about what healthy, respectful behavior looks like in any relationship is important. Teens often think some behaviors like teasing and name-calling are a "normal" part of a relationship, but these behaviors can become abusive and develop into serious forms of violence.
Nearly 1 in 11 female and about 1 in 15 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence in the last year. About 1 in 9 female and 1 in 36 male high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence in the last year. Unhealthy or violent relationships can have severe short and long-term effects on a developing teen. For example, youth who are victims of TDV are more likely to:
- Experience symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Engage in unhealthy behaviors, like using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol
- Consider suicide
Physical, sexual and psychological abuse affects millions of teens in the United States. Educate young people with the facts and give them the tools to recognize unhealthy behavior in both in-person and electronic communication.