VIP Center Hosts Respect Week in Honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Chelsey Reid (right), interim director of the VIP center, with VIP interns.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 5, 2019) — The month of February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) and now, more than ever, it is important that young adults across campus and beyond are aware of what violence within a relationship looks like, how to recognize the signs and how to prevent it from happening. 

Committed to creating critical issue awareness through generating visibility, the Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) Center is hosting Respect Week, Feb. 4-12, bringing the issue of teen dating violence (TDV) to the forefront of campus. During Respect Week, the University of Kentucky campus community will have the opportunity to learn more about TDV and healthy relationships.

TDV is defined as a pattern of abuse or threats of abuse against teenage dating partners. Violence can take several forms, including verbal, emotional, physical, sexual and digital abuse. According to, one in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of adolescent violence. Women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, a statistic that almost triples the national average. 

Chelsey Reid, interim director of the VIP Center, believes educating UK students about interpersonal violence can reduce the stigma of relationship violence, prevent it from happening or continuing and avert more serious ramifications later in life.  

"These statistics are too high and what we know, too, is that the earlier intervention and prevention measures can be disseminated, the more likely we are to prevent or reduce the risk of harm," Reid said. "Incurring dating violence during adolescence can leave someone vulnerable to negative future health outcomes, including but not limited to anxiety, PTSD, engagement in high-risk sex behavior and even future IPV (intimate partner violence) victimization. Talking openly about this issue and understanding how we can support one another is a valuable step in creating a culture intolerant to this type of behavior."

Educating young people about healthy relationships is critical to preventing dating abuse. Beginning a conversation around TDV at the university will help foster a community of understanding and a stronger sense of awareness. 

"The VIP Center is committed to supporting those on campus impacted by teen dating violence," Reid said. "We hope that through collective culture change we can prevent teen dating violence."

Below is a list of events hosted by the VIP Center during Respect Week:

Noon to 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4, Gatton College of Business

"Love is…" Campaign: Share what love is to you for a chance to win VIP Center swag and learn more about TDVAM.

9-11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, Johnson Center Lobby

"Love is…" Campaign: Share what love is to you for a chance to win VIP Center swag and learn more about TDVAM.

Tuesday, Feb. 12

Wear orange to raise awareness about TDV as an issue and promote healthy relationships. Share on social media and tag the VIP Center for a chance to win VIP Center swag. 

To learn more about the VIP Center, click here