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February 10th, 2011

By Susan B. Carbon, Director, Office on Violence Against Women

February is known nationwide as the month to show those around you how much you love and appreciate them. Be it friends, family, or your significant other, the short month of February is filled with the most love. As we demonstrate healthy displays of love to those in our lives, we at the Office on Violence Against Women will also be recognizing a very unhealthy epidemic facing our teens: teen dating violence.


Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights. It can include physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse, and it cuts across boundaries of age, race, culture, wealth and geography. It takes place in the home, on the streets, in schools, the workplace, in farm fields, refugee camps, during conflicts and crises and has many manifestations - from the most universally prevalent forms of domestic and sexual violence, to abuse during pregnancy, so-called honor killings and other types of femicide. Countries have made some progress in addressing violence against women and girls. According to the UN Secretary-General's 2006 In-Depth Study on All Forms of Violence against Women, 89 countries had some legislation on domestic violence, and a growing number of countries had instituted national plans of action.


Teen dating violence prevention and awareness month is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in youth relationships. Dating abuse can happen to anyone, at any age, no matter what race or religion they are, and no matter what their level of education or economical background. Dating abuse also occurs in same sex relationships. However, an alarming number of teens experience abusive behavior in dating relationships (see below: The Surprising Facts of Dating Abuse)

What do we mean when we talk about dating abuse?

Dating abuse isn't an argument every once in a while, or a bad mood after a bad day. Dating abuse (or Relationship Abuse) is a pattern of controlling behavior that someone uses against a girlfriend or boyfriend. Abuse can cause injury and even death, but it doesn't have to be physical. It can include verbal and emotional abuse - constant insults, isolation from family and friends, name calling, controlling what someone wears-and it can also include sexual abuse.

If you, or someone you know, are a victim of dating violence, please call:

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474 & 1-866-331-8453 (TTY)

You can also chat live on-line with a trained Peer Advocate from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. (CST) daily. The live chat (IM-style) on the loveisrespect website www.loveisrespect.org is an alternative method of contacting a peer advocate. You will get the same one on one, confidential information from a live, trained peer advocate just as you would if you contacted loveisrespect by phone.

Read A Message from OVW Director Susan B. Carbon about Teen Dating Violence.


The National Center for Victims of Crime and its Stalking Resource Center applaud President Obama's proclamation designating January 2011 as National Stalking Awareness Month. As the first President to issue a National Stalking Awareness Month proclamation, President Obama has focused national attention on a serious crime that affects 3.4 million Americans a year. Stressing the challenges in recognizing and combating stalking, the proclamation states the Administration's commitment to protect stalking victims and educate the public about the crime.

Obama1On October 27,2010, the Obama Administration announced an unprecedented coordination across the federal government, including several initiatives by several agencies to protect victims of abuse and provide resources for families and communities to prevent abuse. The initiatives demonstrate a broad, comprehensive response to reducing violence against women. Specifically, these concrete actions include steps to:

  • Protect Children and Break the Cycle of Violence

  • Improve Legal Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence

  • Increase Sexual Assault Arrests and Successful Prosecutions

  • Help Victims Regain Housing and Financial Independence


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