With the romance of Valentine’s Day at the forefront of the minds of many Americans this month, it might be easy to forget that February also marks the third annual National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (TDVAPM). Although celebrating love and affection on February 14th is a longstanding tradition among adults and teens alike, we believe that it is also important for us to recognize the dark side of love—love when it turns into jealousy, anger, and violence.
In his 2011 proclamation declaring February 2013 as an opportunity to reach out to those who fall victim to that latter kind of love, President Obama spoke about the importance of parents, teachers, mentors, and friends of abused teens to become more conscious about the occurrence of abuse within teenage relationships. He explained that “young people can be afraid to discuss it, or they may not recognize the severity of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.” Awareness is truly what the initiative is all about; by becoming active observers of the existence of abusive relationships among adolescents, we as a society can become more proactive in the lives of those who need help.
I have been fortunate enough to have friends and family who have had success in dealing with unhealthy relationships. However, as President Obama said, there are still many more out there who go unnoticed. We hope that this month—and every month—will be an occasion for adults and teens to have more open and honest discussions about relationships, especially when those relationships become harmful and destructive.
TDVAPM is an opportunity to engage youth, reach new audiences, raise awareness about dating abuse, and support young people in learning how to have safe and healthy relationships.
Pledge to raising awareness of Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month by donating to W.O.M.A.N., Inc. today!
~ W.O.M.A.N., Inc. Volunteer