Teen dating abuse in america
Youth from low-income backgrounds, those from marginalized racial and ethnic groups, and LGBTQ students are at the greatest risk of experiencing such harm. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that adolescents who experienced teen dating violence were more likely than those who didn’t to report being bullied on school grounds and missing school due to feeling unsafe.
Victims of dating abuse are also more likely to experience depression and anxiety, and to consider suicide, than their non-abused peers.
Nikkia Rowe, the principal of Renaissance Academy High School in West Baltimore, teaches a dating-abuse-prevention curriculum to ninth-graders.
Violence is a learned behavior, she explained, so she puts the burden on educators in her school—located in an impoverished black neighborhood—to focus on helping students, both victims and perpetrators, navigate trauma and learning their individual stories to shift behaviors and attitudes.“Schools are the training ground to address the abuse and to create that change of mind [to] change those habits,” Rowe said.
That's according to Choose Respect, a national initiative to help adolescents and young teens age 11 to 14 form healthy relationships to prevent dating abuse.
“Our schools need to be safe havens for all students, and it is critical that we provide school leaders with tools and resources to help them become stronger partners in reducing teen dating violence and other forms of gender-based violence…
Like bullying, teen dating violence has far-reaching consequences for the health and life outcomes of victims.
“I think that’s lack of insight on the principals’ part,” Khubchandani argued, suggesting the principals are unwilling to acknowledge students’ role in helping their peers cope with and prevent dating abuse.
Maria De Leon, a senior at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, teaches her classmates about dating violence.