Teen Dating Violence Action Month 2021

Categories: Advocacy, Community, Impact

Often referred to as Teen Dating Action (or Awareness) Month (TDVAM), February has been set aside to address teen dating violence. YWCA Spokane joins various organizations, like love is respect, and young people across the country to raise awareness of teen dating violence through action. Throughout the month of February, via our Facebook page, we will focus on advocacy and education to help prevent dating abuse.

Dating violence among teens and young adults is more common than people think: 1 in 3 teens in the US will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from someone they’re in a relationship with before they become adults.

The theme for TDVAM 2021 is Know Your Worth. As explained and led by love is respect, “Know Your Worth is all about learning about healthy relationships and self-empowerment! Every young person is deserving of a healthy, loving relationship.”

To introduce TDVAM 2021, here are two of our advocates, Jose and Lizbeth.


Teen Dating Info Session

At the end of the month, join Jose and Liz online via Zoom on February 26th from 10:00am – 11:00am to learn more about teen dating violence.

We encourage teens, parents, and all those who support our prevention efforts and want to learn more to attend this free, online event.

The event will cover topics such as:

  • What Teen Dating Abuse Is
  • How it Differs from Intimate Partner Violence and Domestic Violence
  • Power and Control in Teen Relationships
  • Healthy and Unhealthy Behaviors
  • How to Support a Loved One
  • Identifying the Abuser and Survivor
  • Debunking the “Mutual Abuse” Myth

Whether you’re a teen, parent, or community member, join the discussion on 2/26 to learn more about teen dating violence and get your questions about teen dating and parenting answered.


Facts About Teen Dating Violence

Teen dating violence includes behaviors such as physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse, as well as cyber abuse and stalking. Abuse can happen in person or over electronic devices such as cell phones and computers.

81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue, as stated by loveisrespect.org.

Teen Dating Violence is wide-spread with serious long-term and short-term effects, as stated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Infographic: 26% of women and 15% of men experienced intimate partner violence for the first time before age 18

  • Violent behavior typically begins between ages 12-18
  • 1.5 million high school students, both male and female will experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year
  • 26% of women and 15% of men experienced intimate partner violence for the first time before age 18
  • 1 in 3 adolescents are the victim of physical, emotional, and verbal abuse
  • 1 in 10 high school students have been hit, slapped, or hurt physically by a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Only 33% of teens tell anyone about the abuse

The CDC states that teens who experience dating violence are more likely to show signs of antisocial behavior, have issues with tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, depression and anxiety, and are more likely to consider suicide. It is also more common that teens who experience these relationships early on are more likely to find themselves in violent relationships in the future, whether they would be the victim or the perpetrator of the violence.


Teen and Parent Perspective

We asked a teen and parent to tell us why they think talking about teen dating violence is important. Here are their responses:

“I believe teen dating violence is an important issue to talk about because everything is confusing, scary or exciting when you’re a teenager. But it’s easy to confuse these emotions. By talking about the signs of abuse, manipulation and violence during your teens, you not only inform teenagers, but open a conversation about dating violence.”  — Micheal Logan-Atkins (17)

“It is important to talk about teen dating violence because while the immediate impact may be humiliation or physical pain, the long-term effect is scary. When they get older they might start abusing drugs and alcohol and be part of high risk sexual activities.” — Anonymous Parent

If you are a teen or a parent of a teen, our Youth Advocate offers education and trauma-informed, advocacy-based counseling to parents and youth exposed to domestic violence. To access these services, please contact Jose Alvarez, YWCA Spokane Youth Advocate, at josea@ywcaspokane.org or at 509.789.9309.


Power and Control

View Wheel

We define domestic violence as patterned behavior used to gain or maintain power and control in a relationship by one partner over another. The original Power and Control Wheel was developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Program from the experience of battered women in Duluth who had been abused by their male partners. Since then, the wheel has been translated into over 40 languages and adapted to represent the experiences of specific populations.

While every situation of abuse is different, the Teen Power and Control Wheel is contextualized to teen relationships, taking into account teen dynamics and tactics. The outer rim of the wheel contains physical and sexual violence, which are forms of violence that are more often outwardly notable. The inner spokes of the wheel are other abusive tactics that can be harder to recognize. All of these tactics are used to gain and maintain power and control by one partner over the other.

The spokes of the Teen Power and Control Wheel contain:

  • Anger/Emotional Abuse
  • Using Social Status
  • Intimidation
  • Minimizing/Denying/Blaming
  • Threats
  • Sexual Coercion
  • Isolation/Exclusion
  • Peer-Pressure

Relationships exist on a spectrum, from healthy to abusive. When it comes to abusive relationships, anyone can be a perpetrator or recipient of violence. Check out this video and blog, to learn more about Red Flags and the Relationship Spectrum.


love is respect

Organized through the National Domestic Violence Hotline, loveisrespect.org provides information, support, and advocacy for youth age 13-26 and their family, friends, and trusted adults. They’re at the forefront of raising awareness and preventing teen dating violence.

Key TDVAM Dates:

  • Respect Week: February 8-12th
  • Wear Orange Day: Tuesday, February 9th

Wear Orange Day is the day everyone wears orange to spread awareness of the incredibly important issue of teen dating violence. Post your photos on social media to stand against abuse and support healthy relationships. Be sure to tag us! Some suggested hashtags include #TDVAM, #YWCASpokane, #orange4love, and #loveisrespect.