Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

By: Betsy Pownall

As Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is coming up in February, here are some statistics to keep in mind:

  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
  • 1 in 3 girls in the US is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
  • 1 in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.
  • 81% of parents believe dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know it’s an issue. (From
  • 1 in 3 young people will be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship.
  • 33% of adolescents in America are victims of sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse.
  • 50% of young people who experience rape or physicalcal or sexual abuse will attempt suicide. (From

Some teens are at greater risk than others. Sexual minority groups as well as racial/ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected by many types of violence. (From

Dating can mean something different to each person. No matter who the people are, or what their age is, it is important, when two people make a decision to date, that each one is aware of their ‘dating bill of rights’. Below is the Dating Bill of Rights for Teens (as well as anyone else):

Dating Bill of Rights

I have the right:

  • To ask for a date.
  • To refuse a date.
  • To suggest activities.
  • To refuse any activities, even if my date is excited about them.
  • To have my own feelings and be able to express them.
  • To say I think my partner’s information is wrong or his/her actions are unfair or inappropriate.
  • To tell someone not to interrupt me.
  • To have my limits and values respected.
  • To tell my partner when I need affection.
  • To be heard.
  • To refuse to lend money.
  • To refuse affection.
  • To refuse affection.
  • To refuse sex with anyone for any reason.
  • To refuse sex anytime for any reason.
  • To have friends and space outside from my partner.

I have the responsibility:

  • To determine my limits and values.
  • To respect the limits and values of others.
  • To communicate clearly and honestly.
  • To ask for help when I need it.
  • To be considerate.
  • To check my actions/decisions to determine if they are good for me or bad for me; to set high goals.

(From Dating Violence: An Anti-Victimization Program, Texas Council on Family Violence and The Bridge Over Troubled Waters.)

Some Regional Resources For Adolescents

ABC House

1054 29th Ave; Albany, OR (visit by appointment)


Hope & Safety Alliance

1577 Pearl St STE 200; Eugene, OR

Hotline: 541.485.6513 (local Eugene); 1.800.281.2800

Call to Safety 24/7 crisis line

Hotline: 503.235.5333 (local Portland)


Raphael House of Portland

4110 SE Hawthorne Blvd. #503, Portland


The Gateway Center for Domestic Violence Services

Portland based; does not accept walk-ins. Call for one-one support to create a safety plan and get connected to other services


Center for Hope and Safety

605 Center St NE; Salem, OR

Hotline: 503.399.7722 (local Salem) 1.866.399.7722