February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
Did you know that the state of Georgia ranks third highest in the nation for the percentage of teens experiencing physical violence in a dating relationship?
Shockingly, 50% of fatalities resulting from intimate partner violence in Georgia happened in relationships that began when the victim was between 13-24. Also, college-aged women (between the ages of 16-24) have the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence! (Source: PADV)
Teen dating violence (physical, emotional, verbal) is as likely to occur as intimate partner violence among adults is. Sadly, it has higher chances of being under-reported as well.
The chances of under-reporting are higher in communities that do not traditionally encourage dating. Second or third generation South Asian youth are particularly at risk due to numerous reasons, mainly, the cultural stigmas associated with dating in the teens or dating only to marry. The age-old conservatism around dating is rooted in the shame associated with “allowing kids to date young a.k.a. before marriage” comes with complete denial (“girls/ boys from good families don’t shame the family”) or lack of communication (“we don’t talk about dating/ sex in our families“). Then, there are parental expectations around focusing on academic achievement, dating to marry or dating “within the community”. Scrutiny in the name of culture, as some may argue, might end up offering some protection in some cases. However, in cases where teens still date, the rules and scrutiny that are supposed to protect could lead to lack of communication around healthy relationships and severe under-reporting in case of dating violence.
The risks seem to be amplified among LGBTQ teens and youth. Recent studies have shown that LGBTQ youth are more prone to teen dating violence and to depression and suicidality.
With schooling and socialization moving increasingly to virtual platforms, it becomes critical to learn ways to identify, support teens and youth going through relationship abuse, trauma or for that matter, to know how to communicate and have conversations with teens about healthy relationships.
Here’s a handy resource list you can share or keep with hotlines, community resources and information you may need to have that conversation, help someone or show allyship.
Resource List: Teen Dating Violence Awareness 2021
Join us for a conversation to hear South Asian youth voices on teen dating violence and healthy relationships – Friday, February 19, 2021 on Facebook Live and Youtube.