March 7, 2018
February was Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, however at YWCA Clark County, raising awareness and working to end domestic abuse is a yearlong commitment. So as we enter March we thought we’d examine some of the statistics and issues surrounding teen dating violence, as well as discuss ways to prevent and educate young people (and adults) about healthy relationship behavior as part of our ongoing efforts to keep our community informed and safe.
It’s common for adults to think about teenage relationships and trivialize their significance as well as their intensity. “There is a tendency to not take teen relationships seriously – to assume that the relationship is just “puppy love” or that youth can’t or don’t cause serious harm,” said YWCA Clark County Domestic Violence Prevention Specialist Michelle Polek.
The statistics tell a different story. Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a given year. Additionally, girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, at almost triple the national average. More troubling still is that only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse. In another survey, 81% of parents reported believing teen dating violence was not an issue (or admitted they didn’t know if it was an issue). More