February 9, 2011 – (Washington, DC) — February is National Teen Dating Violence and Prevention Month. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, is working to increase awareness and the prevalence of sexual violence in teen dating and provide resources to those affected.
As President Obama’s 2011 Presidential Proclamation declared, “each year, about one in four teens report being the victim, of verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual violence.” In fact, 28% of all sexual assaults are perpetrated by an intimate partner. Furthermore, girls aged 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
February is an ideal time to emphasize to adolescents the importance of healthy, positive, consensual relationships. “Sexual violence affects all aspects of a teenager’s life as well as his or her future relationships. It also has a big impact on the lives of victim’s friends and family,” said Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN.
In healthy teen dating relationships, both partners respect their partners’ wishes about sexual activity. Consensual sexual contact means that both partners have the ability to consent to sexual contact and do so – every time. Just because a teen may have consented to sexual activity on a prior occasion, that does not indicate consent right now or future consent.
Sexual violence in teen dating occurs in all socio-economic, racial, educational, and age groups, and there are significant effects of the crime, both physical and psychological. For example, victims of sexual violence are at an increased risk for PTSD, depression, substance abuse, sleeping problems, and suicide. There are also detrimental social effects, as abusers increasingly isolate them from loved ones.
If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) or access help through the Online Hotline (online.rainn.org ). Both are completely confidential and available 24/7 to provide support and information. For more information on teen dating violence and additional resources, please visit rainn.org ).
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org ) in partnership with over 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country. The hotlines have helped more than 1.5 million people since 1994. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.