The theme for Teen DV Month 2016 is “Love = Setting Boundaries,” and specific resources around that theme are available on the loveisrespect website, including a Love Is Respect guide and information about February webinars and Twitter chats.The importance of this issue is why dozens of NEA members participated in a workshop, led by Sarah Colomé of Break the Cycle, at the NEA Joint Conference on Concerns of Women and Minorities last year.Adults coo about puppy love, or shrug at the infatuations of teenagers. Flip through a mag: See 17-year-old Kardashian sib Kylie Jenner pairing up with 25-year-old rapper Tyga. Or, turn on the radio: Hear Justin Bieber crooning to his “prize possession.” Add in 24/7 access to hand-held technology, including apps that geo-track a sweetheart’s every move, and it is no wonder that nearly 20,000 13- to 17-year-olds reached out to the hotline last year.Often, from our perspective, these hot and heavy love affairs are like fireworks. At best, we’re talking about students distracted from learning. Many more teens are in relationships that, if not exactly like Rihanna and Chris Brown, are nonetheless unequal and unhealthy with one partner dominating the other. Let me see your phone,” mimics Maryland high school teacher Erika Chavarria. What contemporary media presents to teens and tweens as “love” today is actually about sex and control.
Dating violence is defined as a pattern of controlling or abusive behaviors perpetrated by a current or former dating partner.Abusers can be male or female, and experts are seeing these patterns of behavior in younger and younger students as pre-teens and elementary students engage in dating relationships before developing healthy relationship skills and boundaries.Abuse occurs in-person as well as through cyberbullying and cyber-control.Statistics show that 72% of students in 8th and 9th grades are in dating relationships.Teens use abuse to manipulate and control the other person in the relationship through behaviors ranging from intimidation to severe physical and sexual abuse.