February Dedicated as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Today is the first day of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM)!  Each year, the entire month of February is dedicated to raising awareness about Teen Dating Violence (TDV). This month, which is honored nation-wide, is essentially a call to action to shatter the silence and engage in difficult conversations.

Northwest Assistance Ministries (NAM) in conjunction with our Family Violence Center, is pleased to share with you our 2021 TDVAM Toolkit (please see attached). In it you will find fundamental information about teen dating violence, as well as important information about how you can get involved throughout the month. A big way to get involved is to join us in celebrating Respect Week. Respect Week is the second week of February and is dedicated to taking action. To honor this week, NAM has created short videos for each day of the week covering various topics to get teens inspired by the movement. The videos are short and to the point, but can have a lasting impact. Our hope is that schools, teachers, and our community will share these videos during Respect Week to help spread awareness.

1.      Monday, February 8: I Need Space: Unhealthy Relationships and Boundaries https://youtu.be/cX_EGf6Ndkw

2.      Tuesday, February 9: Break the Silence, Stop the Violence: Wear Orange Day. (On this day we ask the community to join us in wearing orange and spread awareness.) https://youtu.be/U9QQUyfmz7A

3.      Wednesday, February 10: The G.O.A.T Kind of Love: Healthy Relationships https://youtu.be/b5KLoxwVTps

4.      Thursday, February 11: Don’t Hate, Communicate: Expressing Yourself https://youtu.be/tV3J2RNqg20

5.      Friday, February 12: Happiness Looks Good on You: Self-Care and Safety Planning https://youtu.be/PkXJHJhRK58

The unfortunate reality is that we have to break the silence, talk about teen dating violence, and be aware of the gravity of the issue. The CDC reports that 1 in 3 adolescents will experience some form of abuse in an intimate relationship before they graduate from high school. Of those who do experience abusive relationships, only 33% tell someone. Thus, the majority of those who experience teen dating violence suffer in silence. One way to lower these statistics is to strengthen teen-adult relationships. Having a trusted adult in one’s life is an important protective factor to potential or future abuse, which is why we call upon you this month to show your support for TDVAM 2021!

Despite the limitations of COVID-19, we hope to unite our community in creating spaces for teens to recognize and develop healthy relationships among themselves and those around them. Confronting this issue feels more important than ever. We know that teens these days are surrounded by conflicting and often toxic messages about relationships from a variety of sources. Harmful conceptions of relationships they take in, coupled with inexperience and a desire for self-autonomy results in teens navigating new relationships on their own or alongside their friends who are facing the same battles. The educators, parents, and caregivers are in the ideal position to prioritize the confrontation of this issue and consequently guide and educate young people so they can experience a future free of violence.