Across Indian Country, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) is an important opportunity to listen to and talk with youth and teens about healthy relationships and dating violence. As Native people, relationships represent our sacred connections with each other, grounded in the traditional understanding that ‘we are all related.’ However, we also know
relationships are challenging and especially so for Native youth and teens that are exploring romantic relationships for the first time.
Nationally, nearly 1 in 11 female and approximately 1 in 15 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence in the last year, and about 1 in 9 female and 1 in 36 male high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence in the last year. No one deserves to be abused in any way. Romantic relationships should be grounded in respect, not based on power and control masked as love.
Some signs of dating violence can include when a partner:
- Acts extremely jealous or possessive of you
- Follows you home or to school, or shows up wherever you are unannounced
- Are annoyed or upset when you spend time on the phone with other people
- Tells you who you can or cannot be friends with
- Starts rumors or threatens to start rumors about you
- Excessively texts you or sends non-stop DMs
- Checks your phone for who texts or calls you
- Tags you in hurtful social media memes, posts or pictures
- Criticizes your dreams, goals, family or friends
- Tells you what to wear or how to dress
- Explodes in anger toward you or acts aggressively when they’re upset
- Kisses, grabs or touches your body without your permission
- Forces you to take sexually explicit selfies or videos
- Threatens to hurt themselves or commit suicide if you don’t do what they want.
Dating violence is not our tradition. Our young relatives deserve healthy, respectful love.
Help honor youth and teens in your lives by raising awareness of dating violence and promoting healthy relationships. Let’s help to empower the next generation in reclaiming and defining what safe, healthy and strong relationships mean for them.
Shu’ Shaa nin-la