Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean joined Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), as well as co-leads Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (R-IA), to introduce a resolution to officially designate February as “Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.” The bipartisan resolution recognizes the devastating short- and long-term impacts of unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships and promotes healthy and safe dating relationships for our teens.
Teen dating violence is a pervasive public health crisis. According to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, almost half of teens experienced at least one type of violence, and more than 15% experienced at least two types of violence. While dating violence can impact any teen, young women, some racial and ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ+ teens experience higher risk of violence.
Technology-facilitated dating abuse in particular – such as cyber extortion, cyberstalking, and doxing – has become a growing issue in recent years, with over a quarter of teens who have been in a romantic relationship in the past year reported experiencing at least one form of digital dating abuse.
Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can have severe consequences to teens development, and short- and long-term wellbeing. Challenges associated with articulating dating violence to their friends and family can cause many teens to suffer in silence and to not receive the help and support they need.
“Our resolution to make February Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month will help raise awareness of teen dating violence, so that teenagers can better understand healthy relationships in adolescence,” said Rep. Dean. “It’s crucial that we protect and equip our children with the knowledge and resources to safely navigate the dating world.”
“Teens across the country are suffering physical, sexual, and psychological abuse as well as stalking in staggering numbers, and we must do more to raise awareness and give young people somewhere to turn to for help,” said Rep. Wexton. “The lasting impacts of dating violence will follow teens long into their adulthood if they can’t extract themselves from these relationships and obtain the supports they need moving forward. I’m proud to lead this bipartisan effort to help more teens, parents, and communities recognize and understand teen dating violence and promote healthy relationships.”
“Teen dating violence is a growing public health crisis amongst youth in our country that can no longer be ignored,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “The long-term consequences for teens involved in physically and emotionally abusive relationships are grim. It is critical that we take steps to empower victims, promote safe, healthy relationships, and educate the public on teen dating violence prevention and intervention.”
“Every year, millions of teenage Americans report experiencing abuse in their relationships – whether that is physical or emotional. As a mom of two boys, I want to be sure they have healthy relationships and know how to help their peers who find themselves in an abusive situation. I am proud to once again lead this bipartisan legislation with Representative Jennifer Wexton to foster positive relationships for young people,” said Rep. Hinson.
It is crucial to raise awareness of this issue and support communities in empowering teens to develop healthy relationships. If you or a teen or parent you know would like to speak to a trained peer advocate, you can contact the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474, text “loveis” to 22522, or live chat at loveisrespect.org.
This resolution is cosponsored by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR), Al Green (D-TX), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Wiley Nickel (D-NC), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Brittany Pettersen (D-CO), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Mark Takano (D-CA), and David Trone (D-MD).
The full text of the resolution can be found here.
Rep. Madeleine Dean is a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, former four-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Pennsylvania.