When we talk about intimate partner violence, it's usually in reference to adults. The thing is, the problem actually starts way earlier, and if addressed earlier, can sometimes cut off such behavior at the pass. For this reason, February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, the perfect time to start discussions about abuse in underage relationships.
According to LoveIsRespect.org, one in three adolescents in the U.S. experiences violence from an intimate partner, and 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from an intimate partner each year. More specifically, 1 in 10 high school students has been "purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend." The latter part of that statistic is vital, because although the victims of teen dating violence are predominately girls, there are boys who suffer too. It's not just heterosexual teens either. Between Friends cites a study that suggests rates of teen dating violence and sexual assault occur at similar rates for LGBTQ youth, who are less likely than heterosexual youth to disclose their abuse or seek help.
So what can you do if a young person you know is suffering from abuse? R.A.I.N.N.'s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline is just a click away and is available 24/7 to help the teens who need it.
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