By Christine Murray, See the Triumph Co-Founder
Every February, it’s Teen Dating Violence Month. One of our main goals for See the Triumph is to challenge the stigma surrounding intimate partner violence. As such, this month offers an important opportunity to promote conversations to raise awareness about this major form of intimate partner violence.
Many of the survivors in our research experienced abusive relationships within the context of dating relationships, and abusive relationship dynamics can begin virtually at the same time as teens begin dating. Therefore, it’s critically important that we start to promote healthy relationships before young people even start thinking about dating!
We’ve seen how the stigma that surrounds intimate partner violence in general also applies to teen dating violence. Some of the ways that this can happen include stereotypes about dating violence (e.g., that it can only happen to certain types of kids), shame and blame (e.g., making someone feel responsible for the abuse they experienced), and the isolation that teens who have been abused may feel within their peer groups, families, and communities.
Talking about teen dating violence isn’t easy! Intimate partner violence can feel like such an “adult” topic to discuss with young people. We don’t want to scare them, and it’s difficult to grasp how abuse can occur at such young ages. The stigma surrounding teen dating violence--and other forms of intimate partner violence--can make these conversations even more difficult for parents, other concerned adults, and even teens themselves.
So, throughout this month, we’ll be sharing a series of resources under the theme of “It’s Teen Dating Violence Month: Let’s Talk!!!” We hope you’ll stay connected to us on Facebook so you’ll have access to all the various resources we share throughout the month. Even better, please share these resources with others, including the teenagers and parents of teenagers you know, to help us ignite conversations and get people talking about helping teens develop healthy, safe relationships!