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Each year, 1 in 10 American teenagers suffers physical violence at the hands of a boyfriend or girlfriend, and many others are sexually or emotionally abused. Dating violence can inflict long‑lasting pain, putting survivors at increased risk of substance abuse, depression, poor academic performance, and experiencing further violence from a partner. During National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we renew our commitment to preventing abuse, supporting survivors, holding offenders accountable, and building a culture of respect.
Although girls and young women ages 16 to 24 are at the highest risk, dating violence can affect anyone. That is why everyone must learn the risk factors and warning signs. While healthy relationships are built on fairness, equality, and respect, dating violence often involves a pattern of destructive behaviors used to exert power and control over a partner. It can include constantly monitoring, isolating, or insulting a partner; extreme jealousy, insecurity, or possessiveness; or any type of physical violence or unwanted sexual contact. If you, a friend, or a loved one, is in an abusive relationship, the National Dating Abuse Helpline will offer immediate and confidential support. To contact the Helpline, call 1‑866‑331‑9474, text "loveis" to 22522, or visit www.LoveIsRespect.org. For more information on dating violence, please visit www.CDC.gov/features/datingviolence.
Each of us can play a role in ending dating violence ‑‑ in our schools, our homes, our neighborhoods, and our dormitories. This month and throughout the year, let every American look out for one another, stand with survivors, speak out against dating violence, and build communities where abuse is never tolerated.