February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and Genesis’ teens are focused on educating their peers about healthy relationships. Students Tackle Abusive Relationships (STAR) is a group for high school students who are committed to breaking the cycle of generational domestic violence by raising awareness so they can educate themselves and their friends.

At Genesis, we’re creating a societal shift on how people think about violence against women and girls. The first step in stopping dating violence is learning about it. One in three girls in the United States will experience physical, emotional, digital or verbal abuse from a dating partner. Abusers seek to control their partners by using methods like name-calling, showing extreme jealousy, or trying to control where their partner goes or who they talk to. Abusive partners also often check their partners’ social media without their permission or call and text them excessively.

Teen dating violence is a pattern of behavior in which one partner seeks to exert power and control over the other.

Girls from all walks of life experience teen dating violence, and because of the common feelings of isolation that occur, only one-third of teens in abusive relationships will ever tell anyone what has happened. This is why Teen Dating Violence Awareness month is so important! When parents, teachers and mentors can have open, honest conversations with teens about what healthy relationships might look like, they keep their teens safer. And when teens feel knowledgeable and safe, they can empower their friends to do the same. This awareness is crucial to preventing and ending teen dating violence.

Tuesday, February 12th is Wear Orange 4 Love Day, and you can join Genesis in supporting healthy teen dating relationships by posting photos of you in your orange gear on social media with the hashtag #Orange4Love. Together, we can end teen dating violence and break the generational cycle once and for all.

Written by Alissa Lindsey, fund development manager at Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support.