Copyright 2023 Marline E. Pearson
This lesson starts with issues surrounding breaking up. It follows naturally after the previous
lesson on healthy and unhealthy relationships. The lesson then moves on to address dating
violence. According to the CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2021), among the 58% of high school
students nationwide who reported dating in the past 12 months before the survey, 10.2% of girls and
6.7% of boys reported they had been hit, slammed into something, or injured on purpose by someone
they were dating or going with. 15.3% of girls and 4% of boys reported they had been forced to do
sexual things they did not want to do (counting kissing, touching, and being physically forced to have
sexual intercourse) by someone they were dating or going out with. The survey finds that LGB and
not-sure teens experience dating violence at high levels as well. 15.8% of LGB and 14.6% of not-sure
teens reported physical dating violence. 19.2% of gay, lesbian, or bisexual students and 20% of not-
sure students reported sexual dating violence.1
Some young people do not realize they are in relationships or situations that are abusive—
verbally, emotionally, physically, or sexually. Many are unclear about what respect and normal
boundaries in relationships look like. This lesson will educate young people about the continuum
of unhealthy relationships, from the serious problem of disrespectful behavior to the most
dangerous patterns of violence.
Drawing the line of respect early in relationships with partners or friends will be stressed. Practicing
assertiveness skills to respond to disrespectful comments and behaviors, especially when these
patterns first emerge, will be highlighted. The goal is to motivate teens to set high standards,
recognize warning signs, reach out for support, and take action.
The lesson will also address sexual assault and consent. Finally, the lesson ends with a section on sex
trafficking that aims to build awareness to reduce risks.
Youth will become familiar with important websites on dating violence, sexual assault, and sex
trafficking. Love Is Respect ( is filled with interactive pages, quizzes, chatlines, and
help 24/7. (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) is the largest anti-sexual violence
organization with over 1,000 local service providers. The site is filled with information and where and
how to get help. Finally, youth are introduced to the Human Trafficking website, which includes an
array of information and support:
Breaking Up and Dating Violence
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