At CSVANW, we believe that each of our Native youth carry within them, the hopes, visions, prayers and songs of their ancestors. We believe that they carry within them, the resilience of their families and their communities. We honor our Native youth, as the future leaders of our communities and as a vital contributor to mobilizing strength-based solutions to the challenges our communities face today. And we empower our Native youth… to join us in eliminating violence against our Native women and children.
Native youth experience violent crime rates up to 10 times the national average. Violence, including intentional injuries, homicide and suicide, account for 75% of Native youth deaths. One in three Native American girls will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes and one in three Native youth will face dating violence.
Teen dating violence is a type of violence that happens between two young people in a relationship. The nature of the harmful and aggressive behavior can be physical, emotional, sexual or technological abuse:
- Physical – For example, when a partner is pinched, hit, bit, shoved or kicked.
- Emotional – This action can involve threatening a partner or harming a partner’s sense of self-worth. Some examples include name-calling, shaming, bullying, embarrassing on purpose, or keeping the partner away from friends and family.
- Sexual – This is forcing a partner to engage in a sex act when he or she does not or cannot consent. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Dating violence often starts with teasing and name calling. These behaviors are often thought to be a “normal” part of a relationship. But these behaviors can lead to more serious violence like physical assault and rape.
- Technological– Using social media to harass, stalk, bully, shame, embarrass or humiliate.
Dating violence can have a negative effect on health throughout life. Teens who are victims are more likely to do poorly in school. They may engage in unhealthy behaviors, like drug and alcohol use. The anger and stress that victims feel may lead to eating disorders and depression. Some teens even think about or attempt suicide.
Although the challenges that our tribal communities face may be staggering, there is a light of resilience building up within our Native youth. They are powerful, creative, innovative and passionate.
More information can be found on teen dating violence at:
Futures Without Violence: www.futureswithoutviolence.org/userfiles/file/PublicPolicy/teen_dating_factsheet.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention