Talking to your kids about sensitive issues in their lives can be difficult, especially when the conversation moves to their romantic relationships.

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One in ten teenagers involved in a romantic relationship report being “kissed, touched, or physically forced” to have sex against their will by a boyfriend or girlfriend. Emotional and psychological abuse are common and can cause victims to suffer irreparable harms.

Examples of behaviors that may be considered emotionally abusive include: In order to combat teen dating violence and reduce the prevalence of these self-destructive behaviors, Congress declared the month of February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. The decision came on the heels of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2005.

Dating violence can be prevented when teens, families, organizations, and communities work together to implement effective prevention strategies.

February is a time best known for Valentine’s Day and romance.

A CDC Report found among victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, nearly 23% of females and 14% of males first experienced some form of violence by that partner before age 18. Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can have short- and long-term negative effects on a developing teen.

Youth who experience dating violence are more likely to: Additionally, youth who are victims of dating violence in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college.Violence and physical abuse in romantic teenage relationships is a rising problem in America.Each year, approximately one out of every 10 high school students, or 1.5 million teenagers, is physically abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend.Teens on the cusp of their sexual awakening are more likely to experiment sexually and engage in sexual conduct.This can be fine when both teenage partners are willing and consenting participants.Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime.