Many adults are unaware that teens experience dating violence. Yet in 2010, the U.S. Congress enhanced what had been Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week to Teen Dating Violence Awareness month, based on the rising number of incidents in teens ages 11-17 across the country.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that nearly 1 in 9 female teens and approximately 1 in 13 male teens report having experienced physical dating violence. In addition, over 1 in 7 female teens and 1 in 19 male teens report having experienced sexual dating violence. 23% of women and 14% of men first experienced these or other forms of violence by a partner before age 18. (CDC 2017)
Teens who experience relationship violence are at risk for additional difficulties such as depression, substance abuse and suicide. Victims are also at greater risk of experiencing the same patterns of violence later in life. As a community, we have a responsibility to make dating and domestic violence an intolerable act – anytime, anywhere. Jana’s Campaign is thrilled that many communities recognize this is a social issue that can be eradicated, and are willing to do the work involved in that process. We are extremely thankful to the hundreds of people who believe in the #PowerOfPrevention, who help support and fund our work.
We believe education is the most powerful instrument of social change and development. We believe through education, we can change and improve social attitudes, behaviors, customs, interactions, relations and social norms. Since 2013, Jana’s Campaign has worked with nearly 550 middle and high schools educating about and preventing against gender and relationship violence. We commend these schools for understanding the importance of talking to their students about healthy– and unhealthy– relationships.
Throughout February and beyond, please join our efforts to educate and raise awareness about the hidden social disease of gender and relationship violence - dating and domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking. We ask you to encourage your local school or organization to invite us in for a presentation about these important issues! Learn more about Teen Dating Violence and Jana’s Campaign at www.janascampaign.org or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Kim Cebula, Executive Director