February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, but because thats a mouthful, we’ll just call it “Teen DV Month”.
We have lots of “months”; April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month; October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (it’s also Breast Cancer Awareness Month); November is affectionately known as “Movember”, encouraging men to don mustaches to raise awareness for various cancers, including prostate cancer; and the list goes on.
So, why do we need another awareness month, just for teen dating violence? Because 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, that’s why!
Teen DV Month provides an opportunity for those of us working in sexual assault prevention and domestic violence prevention to come together to focus on healthy relationships, and to stop dating abuse before it starts! I really appreciate this infographic developed by the Centers for Disease Control because it poignantly illustrates that, in order to prevent dating violence, we have to begin discussing and demonstrating healthy relationships in families, first.
As part of Teen DV Month, CALCASA will be participating in the loveisrespect “A Deeper Look at Boundaries” Twitter chat on February 18th, recognizing that setting boundaries is a first step in establishing and maintaining healthy relationships.
At CALCASA, we advocate for comprehensive prevention in our work to end sexual assault and we recognize that these conversations have to begin well before entering highschool or stepping on a college campus – we have to equip our youth with the tools, language and resources of empowerment and trust as they develop and grow. So, I’d say, Teen DV Month is a worthy “month” to recognize.