CHARLOTTE, N.C. – February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (TDVAPM). U.S. Attorney Dena J. King was joined yesterday by representatives with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Mecklenburg County’s Community Support Services to host a discussion on the topic of youth violence, with a focus on teenage unhealthy and abusive relationships.
In observing TDVAPM, U.S. Attorney King said, “This year’s theme is ‘Talk About It’ and that is exactly what all of us should be doing. Engaging in conversations with teenagers about what teen dating violence is, what it looks like, what it feels like, how to prevent it from happening, and how young people can protect themselves from abusive dating situations.”
During yesterday’s discussion with more than 15 youths, U.S. Attorney King talked about the importance of teaching young people how to navigate romantic relationships, how to communicate their feelings in healthy ways, and how to handle emotional situations in a non-aggressive manner. The discussion also centered around the many forms of teen dating abuse such as physical, psychological, sexual, emotional and verbal aggression, harassment, stalking, and exploitation, and warned teens that dating abuse happens in person, via social media or through a different mode of technology.
U.S. Attorney King also highlighted the importance of reporting the abuse. According to statistics, one in three teens in the United States will experience a form of abuse from an intimate partner before adulthood. U.S. Attorney King further noted that teen dating violence cuts across lines of age, gender, race, religion and socioeconomic status, and that dating abuse is just as serious in LGBTQ+ relationships as it is in heterosexual relationships.
During the discussion, the participants discussed the role of social media and the intersection between technology and teen dating violence. “As technology advances and our means of communication change, so does the form of dating violence. Tweens, teens and young adults who are victims of cyber stalking, text messaging harassment, and cyber bullying are just as much in danger as victims of physical abuse,” U.S. Attorney King stated. “What’s equally significant is that the experience of violence, abuse and trauma in the formative years can change the trajectory of a young person’s life.”
As the misuse of technology is becoming an increasingly common tactic on the part of harmful partners, the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) has shared a new resource funded by the OVW, the Teens and Technology Resource Series. The Teens and Technology resources aim to help adults who teach, work with, and care for teenagers understand technology from their perspective to empower teenagers to safely navigate relationships and technology use. These resources include examples of technology abuse, uses and misuses of social media applications, and five ways to engage with young people.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, or stalking, there are many services available to help, including:
Teen Dating Abuse Hotline, 1-866-331-9474, text ‘LOVEIS’ to 22522, or visit loveisrespect.org;
To close out Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, on Monday, February 28, 2022, at 12:00 p.m. CST join @SAFEatx program Expect Respect for a youth-led workshop to learn more about the issue, how to support youth experiencing dating violence, & how to prevent it from happening. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87664006352#success