February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Published 2:02 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and it is critical to take this time to remember that relationship violence is not just a problem for adults. This issue impacts everyone – not just teens – but their parents, teachers, friends and communities as well.  

One in three U.S. teens will experience physical, sexual or emotional abuse from someone they’re in a dating relationship with before becoming adults. One-third of teens who are in an abusive relationship never tell anyone. It’s time to shine a light on this issue.

Recognizing unhealthy traits in a relationship can be difficult, especially for teens. There are many tendencies that young people may believe are normal but are actually unhealthy and abusive. Extreme jealousy, the wish to control, being disrespectful or isolating their partner are all ways unhealthy partners can manipulate a relationship. 

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Teens have a right to safe and healthy relationships. You can take part and help someone in an unhealthy or abusive relationship:


  • Believe them and tell them that you do. 
  • Listen to what they tell you. Avoid making judgments and giving advice. 
  • Take it seriously. If you are concerned about their safety, tell them you are concerned without judgment. 
  • Refer them to Steps to HOPE, who can provide necessary counseling, emotional support and safety planning.


You can also take the time to educate yourself and others about teen dating violence. The following websites offer information about teen dating violence and what you can do to help:


  • loveisrespect.org  
  • breakthecycle.org
  • joinonelove.org
  • Stepstohope.org


Steps to Hope is the domestic violence and sexual assault center located in Columbus serving Polk County and the Upstate. To learn more about the agency and its services, visit stepstohope.org.


Submitted by Jessica Cashwell