U.S. Sees Increase in Teen Dating Violence

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The CDC has released a report that there is an increase in the number of teen girls reporting they are the victim of dating violence. The percentage of teenage girls who experienced sexual violence increased by 20% from 2017 to 2021, to one in five girls, according to the CDC.

We were joined by Donna Bartos, Founder and CEO Bloom365.org, and Riti Singh, Teenage Peer Advocate, to discuss this increase .

What is Bloom 365?

This non-profit organization focuses on promoting healthy relationships and preventing abuse in the dating stage. Their main group of focus are 11-24 year olds.

“We only have enough data by who is surveyed –That survey that you referenced is just under 18,000 students from across the country were surveyed. We don’t really have a good view,” said Bartos.

With this in mind, how many teens are victims of teen dating violence that have not yet reported it. The number may be higher than what has been recorded.

For example, “In Maricopa County, specifically where most of our programs are, after surveying 36,000 high school students, 50% anonymously indicated that they have experienced interpersonal violence, dating abuse or sexual assault in a relationship,” said Bartos.

How open are teens open to talking about this ?

Riti Singh is a teenage peer advocate for Bloom 365 and she tells us more about her experiences as an advocate.

“Being a peer advocate is super important because most of the time we are the frost people to kno when someone might be experiencing violence or abuse,” said Singh.

What’s the training like as an advocate?

“You get trained on what it could look like, what are risk factors and red flags for an abusive partner or if you yourself are perpetrating some sort of abuse,” said Singh.

The training allows advocates to become more empathetic and understanding of those around them and even allows them to do internal work on themselves so that they don’t act upon toxic behavior in their relationships as well.

Donna Bartos, Riti Singh

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