February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM), a national effort to raise awareness and protect teens from violence. How can you make a difference? By encouraging your school, community‐based organizations, tribal leaders, parents, and teens to join together to prevent teen dating violence– both at home and in our communities. Those of us in Native communities often hear jokes about “Indian lovin” as waking up with a hickey and a black eye—that’s not love, it’s dating violence. As a way to support our efforts, Verizon has partnered with NIWRC to address teen dating violence among Native youth. The NativeLove project provides opportunities for our young people to discuss teen dating violence and related issues to reframe what Native Love is… including ways to transform our thoughts and actions to restore how we love, honor, and treat one another. Our goal is to inspire, empower, and mobilize tribal youth to amplify their voices to advocate against violence against Native women, youth, and children with the aim of creating positive social change in our communities.
The History of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
In 2005, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act highlighted teenage dating violence and abuse. Congress declared the first week in February as “National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Week,” after national efforts called for the end of dating abuse. In 2010, Congress dedicated the entire month of February to teen dating violence awareness and prevention.
What is Teen Dating Violence?
Dating/ Relationship Violence occurs when one intimate or romantic partner tries to maintain power and control over the other through words and actions that are physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially abusive.
- Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner.
- More than 40% of Native children experience two or more acts of violence by the age of 18.
- 25% of Native children that are exposed to violence have PTSD at a higher rate than that found in US soldiers returning home from Afghanistan.
- One in five tweens knows a victim of dating violence.*
* For more information or statistics, please go to: http://nativelove.niwrc.org/statistics/
Because youth form the heart of our cultural survival as Native peoples, we at NativeLove believe that our youth have the power and energy to help create positive change in their communities.
To highlight Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) this February, NativeLove collaborated with the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) on an TDVAM Interview with Tanae LeClaire (2017 NativeLove Challenge Winner): “How can we create meaningful connections with youth leaders seeking opportunities to become vocal advocates for themselves and their communities?” Also, NativeLove, in collaboration with the StrongHearts Native Helpline and the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women are co‐hosting the #HealthyNativeLoveIs Photo Contest on Instagram with 3 top prizes! Visit here for rules and more information: http://nativelove.niwrc.org/healthynativeloveis-photo-contest/
- PRINT: 2019 Women Are Sacred Calendar (http://www.niwrc.org/resources/women-are-sacred-2019-monthly-calendar-awareness-months-days), download from NIWRC’ Resource Library. Includes February Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
- SHARE: TDVAM digital cards on social media. NativeLove will be posting an information fact or statistic addressing teen dating violence each week of February. Native youth form the heart of our cultural survival as Native peoples, you have the power to create positive change in your community to end this epidemic. Join the conversation with #HealthyNativeLoveIs and #TDVAM.
- WATCH: NativeLoveIs videos (http://nativelove.niwrc.org/multimedia/). In a joint project of the Indian Law Resource Center (Indianlaw.org), the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (niwrc.org) and Buffalo Nickel Creative (buffalonickelcreative.com) produced videos to define Native love. The project focuses on raising awareness about violence against Native women and empowering Native people to speak out about traditional cultural values that honor and respect Native women.
- CALL: If you or someone you know if experiencing dating violence, please call the StrongHearts Native Helpline (1–844-7NATIVE, or 1–844-762‑8483) to get help and referrals to local resources. The call is free and confidential. Advocates are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST. After hours callers have the option to connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Visit StrongHearts online to learn more about domestic violence and dating violence, red flags and resources at www.strongheartshelpline.org.
- ORGANIZE A SCHOOL/COMMUNITY ACTIVITY: Want to celebrate Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) this February? Take Action! Here are some ideas for you to consider in helping raise awareness about teen dating violence in your school or community (See attached document).
- EXPLORE: NativeLove Online Toolkit for Youth. To offer support to youth, NIWRC will showcase various toolkits and resources on a broad spectrum of wellness with NativeLove Resources and Tools.
- EXPLORE: NativeLove Online Toolkit for Educators, Coaches, and Mentors. Our NativeLove project encourages youth to rethink what Native Love means to them, and empower them to define healthy relationships for themselves. This is with the aim of promoting non‐violent, respectful, safe relationships among Native youth, their families, communities, cultures, & Nations.
- EXPLORE: NIWRC’S Online special collections for teens. This Special Collection is developed to highlight the issues, resources and other suggestions for engaging Native youth in our communities about healthy relationships and related tools. The Special Collection organizes information, resources, tips and curricula drawn from the wealth of information gathered from partner organizations, experts from the field, and other allies. Specifically, in this Collection, are resources on cultural issues, national sources, statistics, topical issues and approaches, existing programs, available material and resources to create awareness and promote important discussions about teen dating violence within our Native communities.
- DOWNLOAD: “2017 State of Native Youth Report: Our Identities as Civic Power.” By The Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute.
- DOWNLOAD: “Combating Trafficking: Native Youth Toolkit on Human Trafficking.” By Administration for Native Americans, Administration for Children & Families Office of Trafficking in Persons and Department of Health and Human Services.
- org’s “Signs of Teen Dating Violence”
- NRCDV’s list of TDVAM resource
About The NativeLove Project
Verizon has partnered with National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) to raise awareness and help end violence against Native youth by empowering them to redefine Native love. Our NativeLove project includes a youth video/photo challenge, posters, social media campaigns, FAQs, and teen resources and toolkits. These are offered to support and inform youth and educators about healthy relationship and to encourage dialogue in Native communities. http://nativelove.niwrc.org