Some things are hard to talk about, but need to be discussed. A lot of love is in the air post-Valentine’s Day, but it is important to shed some light on abusive relationships. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness month: it is important to know what exactly that means and how to handle a situation if it arises.

According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Teen Dating Violence (TDV) is “a pattern of abuse or threat of abuse against teenage dating partners, occurring in different forms, including verbal, emotional, physical, sexual and digital.” There are a lot of cases of TDV that aren’t reported or even recognized. As stated in the definition, TDV can come in many shapes and forms, which is partially why it is sometimes hard to identify. The line of claiming a relationship is abusive can be blurry; however, if it feels wrong, it is wrong.

For clarification, here are only a few amongst many examples of TDV:

  • Hitting, shoving, kicking, or any other form of physical violence
  • Non-consensual sexual activity of any form, including kissing and touching
  • Abusive talking, stalking, controlling behavior, or any other forms of emotional harm

Sadly, TDV can end in self-destructive behavior. It is easy to let a relationship and your feelings spiral out of control, but there are many resources available to help you whether you just want to casually talk about your situation, keep it anonymous, or report a case of TDV.

As part of a statewide “Enough is Enough” law, RIT’s office of Title IX does a Title IX Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey every other year, to “monitor trends and identify issues that may be occurring on campus.” The online survey will only take about 25 minutes. In the survey you will be able to anonymously share your “experiences with gender-based misconduct including sexual harassment and discrimination, sexual violence and more.” Take the survey now, it closes on March 4.

Always remember: the only reason to stay with a partner is because they make you happy. A partner should support you, help you grow, and should be selfless and kind. If you have a gut feeling something isn’t right, you should treat your feelings seriously; no matter the context of the situation or the opinions of others. Although this month is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, we should all be considerate of this issue all the time.

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