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When Love Hurts: The Intersectionality of Black History Month and Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

black couple holding hands

February marks both Black History Month and Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Caught in the intersection of these two occasions, the Black community experiences higher rates of dating violence than their non-Black counterparts. More than half of Black men and women in the United States have reported experiencing physical or sexual violence, psychological aggression, or stalking in their intimate partner relationships. Dating violence is especially prevalent amongst Black women, youth, and gender expansive peoples. Black women are 30-50% more likely to experience domestic violence than white women. Statistics also show that Black women are three times more likely than white women to be killed by their male partners.   

Unfortunately, exposure to intimate partner violence happens in adolescence. Data shows that 1 in 3 teens in the United States will experience dating violence. Black and multiracial youth experience dating violence at greater rates than White, Hispanic, and Asian youth. Teenage girls across all races are at a greater risk of victimization, yet Black girls are more reluctant to report instances of intimate partner violence in an attempt to adhere to the “strong Black woman” stereotype. Additionally, Black youth might be less likely to report instances of domestic abuse due to lack of trust in law enforcement.   

Dating violence is rampant in the LGBTQ+ community as well. LGBTQ+ youth, regardless, of race, are at a greater risk of experiencing dating violence compared to heterosexual youth. Black LGBTQ+ are twice as likely to experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime than those who are not Black and identify as LGBTQ+. Further, gender expansive people are disproportionately exposed to intimate partner violence. Over half of transgender people in the United States have encountered a form of violence or abuse from an intimate partner at some point in their life. As stated by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 100% of the domestic violence related homicides of gender expansive people in 2016 were people of color, majority of whom were Black. 

Earlier this month, as an effort to spread awareness about dating violence, the St. Mary's College of Maryland, the St. Mary's County Commission for Women, and the Healthy St. Mary's Partnership hosted a webinar with speaker Bill Mitchell, who lost his daughter in 2015 due to dating violence. You can visit WHEN DATING HURTS - HOME to learn more about his story. 

In addition, the Southern Maryland Center for Family Advocacy has a list of resources and events for teens to learn more about dating violence and how to prevent it.  


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