This month, amidst chocolate hearts, flowers and love letters, we celebrated teen dating violence awareness month with waves of awareness campaigns spreading the same message – dating violence can happen in adolescent relationships.  President Obama declared February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, proclaiming, “Healthy relationships are built on respect, trust, and equality. Our commitment to these values demands that we stand up against dating abuse and all forms of intimate partner violence. During National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we are called to act.” It is our responsibility to speak up and stop ignoring violence that happens daily.

Adolescence is a tough time.  Bullying through the internet and social media, maintaining good grades, and participating in equal, healthy relationships can affect teenagers.  Teen dating violence happens quite frequently ; in 2011, in New York City, 10.4% of male and female high school students reported being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend/girlfriend within the past year. (NYC High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2011); 1 in 3 teens is affected by teen dating violence.

Campaigns spreading teen dating violence awareness are key to its prevention and elimination.   This Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, CADV RAPP students and Coordinators, shared why teen dating violence awareness is important, through different activities. We posted photos of cutout hearts proclaiming why we support teen dating violence awareness. RAPP students came to the Center’s main office to enjoy pizza while showing off their artistic talents decorating cloth squares that were sewn together into make a giant quilt of teen dating violence awareness. In workshops around the City, RAPP students adorned post-it notes with messages about teen dating violence and why they think violence needs to stop.

While RAPP students and Coordinators campaign to end teen dating violence all year round, designating a particular month to promote awareness helps spotlight the issue.  It is life changing for so many teens to tale the lessons of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and live them all year long.