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Teen dating violence is a growing public health issue.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research, one in 10 high school students report being a victim of physical dating violence.
When reflecting on teenage relationships as you look down your school hallways, thoughts of peer pressure, raging hormones, trivial ideas about love and friendship may come to mind. Dating matters: Strategies to promote healthy teen relationships.
It can be tempting for us to pay more attention to the negative effects of unhealthy relationships, particularly during dating violence prevention month, however healthy relationships are much more prevalent than unhealthy ones.
Research shows that well-designed, well-implemented, school health programs can increase healthy behaviors that teenagers engaged in during relationships (Wolfe et. Two examples of evidence-based curriculum programs that have demonstrated significant outcomes for teenagers are Safe Dates and Fourth R Skills for Youth Relationships. Teen Dating Violence: A Closer Look at Adolescent Romantic Relationships., 261 Murphey, D., Barry, M., Vaughn, B., (2013).
However, other organizations can use the Dating Matters model to coordinate comprehensive dating violence prevention efforts in their communities.
27.2% of women and 11.7% of men have experienced unwanted sexual contact (by any perpetrator).[vii]One in 6 women (16.2%) and 1 in 19 men (5.2%) in the United States have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed (by any perpetrator).[i]Repeatedly receiving unwanted telephone calls, voice, or text messages was the most commonly experienced stalking tactic for both female and male victims of stalking (78.8% for women and 75.9% for men).[iv]About 1 in 5 women and nearly 1 in 7 men who ever experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, first experienced some form of partner violence between 11 and 17 years of age.[ii]Most female and male victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner (69% of female victims, 53% of male victims) experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before 25 years of age.[vii]A survey of American employees found that 44% of full-time employed adults personally experienced domestic violence’s effect in their workplaces, and 21% identified themselves as victims of intimate partner violence.[iii]64% of the respondents in a 2005 survey who identified themselves as victims of domestic violence indicated that their ability to work was affected by the violence.
More than half of domestic violence victims (57%) said they were distracted, almost half (45%) feared getting discovered, and two in five were afraid of their intimate partner’s unexpected visit (either by phone or in person).[iv]Nine in ten employees (91%) say that domestic violence has a negative impact on their company’s bottom line.
When learning to form healthy relationships, peers, in particular, play a big role in influencing the interactions that occur within relationships (Collins, Welsh & Furman, 2009; Adams & Williams, 2011).
Relationships with caring adults are also important for teenage and preteen development, especially when providing guidance on how a young person should handle interactions and behaviors within relationships (Office of Adolescent Health, 2014).