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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February is designated as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) in an effort to raise awareness to the issue and serve as a call to action to encourage us all to recommit to helping reduce the issue, prevent our youth from ever experiencing dating violence by having the ability to recognize the signs and behavior, empower youth to advocate for themselves, and provide our young people every chance to live the fulfilling and productive lives they deserve.

Dating Violence by the Numbers                             TDM GIF 

Dating violence is more common than you may think and can take place in person,
online, or through other technology. Dating violence is especially common among teens
and young adults: 

  • 1 in 3 U.S. teens will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from someone
    they’re in a relationship with before they become adults.
  • 1 in 11 female and 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.
  • Teen females who are abused in a romantic relationship are 6 times more likely to
    become pregnant or contract a STI.
  • Nearly half (43%) of U.S. college women report experiencing violent or abusive
    dating behaviors.
What is Teen Dating Violence?
  • Physical violence: A person hurts or tried to hurt a partner with physical force
  • Sexual violence: Attempting to or forcing sexual acts without affirmative consent
  • Psychological abuse: Verbal or nonverbal communication with intent to emotionally harm
  • Stalking: Pattern of repeated attention or contact by current or former partner

Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Teens often think this type of behavior is normal, but it is not. Dating violence is common, but preventable. It is critical for youth to begin learning skills to create and maintain healthy relationships, including managing feelings and communicating in a healthy way.

Relationship Characteristics

For a relationship to be considered healthy, it must have TREO:

  • T - Trust
  • R - Respect
  • E - Equality
  • O - Open Communication

Unhealthy relationships usually exhibit:

  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Disrespect
  • Controlling behavior
  • Frequent miscommunication or lack of communication
Negative Effects of Teen Dating Violence

Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can have both short and long term effects on developing teens. Youth who are victims of dating violence are more likely to:

  • Experience depression and anxiety
  • Engage in risky behaviors including using alcohol, tobacco, and drugs
  • Think about suicide or self-harm
  • Exhibit anti-social behaviors including disregard for right and wrong, lying, theft, bullying, manipulation for pleasure or violence
What Can We Do?
CDC TDV image
 Do you or someone you know need help?

Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence|334-387-6362

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233 or TEXT “START” to 88788
1-800-799-7233 or Text START to 88788

Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama|866-502-4422

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Page last updated: February 10, 2023