by Rona Amiri, BWSS YOUth Ending Violence Consultant
February is Youth Dating Violence Awareness Month! Battered Women’s Support Services YOUth Ending Violence Prevention Program will be taking this month to provide awareness about violence in youth dating relationships. As part of creating greater awareness we will be presenting facts and statistics, discussing ways in which we can interrupt sexist and abusive behavior and examine the role boys and young men have in ending violence as well as the role of media.
Youth dating violence is a pattern of domination where different tactics/tools are used to maintain power and control of ones partner. It is also important to understand that youth dating violence is also a form of gender violence. We know that girls between the ages of 15-19 experience 10 times more violence in relationships then young men. This is why it is critical to have both girls and boys involved in ending violence in youth relationships. It is important for boys and young men to take action against sexist and abusive behaviors. The reality is that boys and young men are expected to be tough and in control. Therefore, violent behavior is often seen as an appropriate way to express themselves within relationships. Fundamental inequalities and sexism in our society lead to abuse against girls and young women because they are often objectified.
Our YOUth Ending Violence program provides youth with the knowledge to recognize what dating violence is as well as how to prevent it, support friends who may be in an abusive relationship and have a discussion around what they want in a healthy relationship. We also look at the roots of violence and discuss the role of media and societal expectations of what it means to be feminine and masculine.
Four ways you can spread awareness this month: