Throughout February, NYC public schools are recognizing Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, a national and annual effort to raise awareness about abuse in teenage relationships.
Intimate partner violence, or dating violence, occurs when a person has an imbalance of power and control over their partner, and it is a serious issue for middle and high school students. According to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, one in 10 City public high school students reported being hurt by a dating partner within the previous 12 months. The survey also found that 22 percent of the City’s lesbian, gay, and bisexual students reported being physically hurt by a dating partner, compared with 10 percent of the City’s heterosexual students.
In addition, on a national level:
- One in three teens in the U.S. will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults.
- These students were also almost four times more likely than other students to have attempted suicide, over three times more likely to miss school because they felt unsafe, and three times more likely to have consumed alcohol.
- Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rates of dating violence.
It is important to understand that dating violence is not just limited to physical abuse:
Emotional/Verbal Abuse: includes non-physical behaviors such as threats, insults, screaming, constant monitoring, or isolation.
- Financial Abuse: Exerting power and control over a partner through their finances, such as taking or withholding money from a partner, or prohibiting a partner from earning income.
- Stalking: Being repeatedly watched, followed, monitored, or harassed. Occurs online or in person, and can include giving unwanted gifts.
- Sexual Abuse: Any sexual activity that occurs without willing, active, and unimpaired consent, such as unwanted sexual touch, sexual assault (rape) and tampering with contraceptives.
- Digital Abuse: Using technology to bully, stalk, threaten, or intimidate parner from using texting, social media, apps, tracking, etc.
Throughout the month, City middle and high schools will be providing students with relationship violence prevention education and programming that teaches them to recognize warning signs, understand the elements that are critical to healthy relationships, identify what type of behavior they would like to see from their partner, engage in open, respectful and honest communication, and know their relationship rights and responsibilities. City schools and teachers who would like access to more of these resources should visit the DOE’s intranet page.
Outside of the classroom, we encourage students, parents, and educators alike to do their part to prevent teen dating violence by following or using the hashtags, #TeenDVMonth, #HandsUnite, and #Orange4Love on social media.
And speaking of orange, Tuesday, February 13 is Wear Orange for Love Day to raise awareness about teen dating abuse—show that you believe in healthy relationships by wearing orange on February 13!
Remember: everyone has the right to a healthy and safe relationship free of abuse. If you or someone you know has a question about a relationship, visit Love is Respect and Break the Cycle to learn more about recognizing and preventing dating violence. You can also call or text the following services for more direct assistance:
- New York City Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 311 or (800) 621-HOPE (4673)
- Love Is Respect Hotline: Hotline: Call (866) 331-9474 or text “Loveis” to 22522
- Day One: Call (800) 214-4150 or text (646) 535-DAY1 (3291)
- Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (AVP): (212) 714-1141
- RAINN: (800) 656-HOPE (4673)
- Family Justice Centers:
- Bronx: (718) 508-1220
- Brooklyn: (718) 250-5111
- Manhattan: (212) 602-2800
- Queens: (718) 575-4545
- Staten Island: (718) 697-4300