Resources for Youth To Address Relationship Abuse Year-Round
Approximately 1 in 5 high school girls and 1 in 8 high school boys experienced physical or sexual assault by their partner during the previous 12 months, according to the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
During Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month this February, organizations around the country are educating communities about safe and healthy relationships among adolescents and young adults. Organizations are also empowering youth by providing them with resources that help them raise awareness among their peers and local communities.
Here are some resources that help youth raise awareness of relationship violence:
Dating abuse primers. Filled with colorful, youth-friendly graphics, the “Learn About Dating Abuse” section of the Break the Cycle website makes it easy for young people to learn about the dynamics of unhealthy relationships and how to respond to one or to a friend who is being victimized. Take note of the “Help a Friend” page, which emphasizes listening and providing validating responses. The Loveisrespect.org website provides complementary guidance in its “Relationship 101” section. There, young people can learn how to recognize a healthy relationship, how to communicate about consent, and how texting can be misused as a way to control a dating partner.
Violence prevention volunteer opportunities. The youth-directed “Let’s Be Real” campaign, led by Break the Cycle, has youth members from 29 states involved in diverse roles such as event planning and hosting, marketing and member recruitment, and social media messaging. Youth can even host Real Talk sessions in their communities to initiate dialogue about healthy relationships.
National awareness-raising campaign. Break the Cycle encourages youth to hang up the organization’s “Things Aren’t Always What You See” campaign poster in restrooms, fitting rooms, and similar spaces in their communities. Because victims of dating abuse may retreat to such spaces for a brief escape from a hostile partner, they are prime locations for relationship education. Young people just need to complete a short online form to access the poster’s digital download and the other free materials that facilitate the three-step campaign process. For example, advocates need to speak with store and gym managers to explain how the poster is part of a national campaign to end dating violence.
Social media “cards” to identify abusive behavior. Calling out others on inappropriate behavior is an effective tool for behavior change, and that’s why Futures Without Violence created the “That’s Not Cool” campaign. Designed to meet young people’s needs to communicate their boundaries on mobile devices, the cyberbullying online abuse callout cards can be shared through dozens of apps, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, email, and text. One of the cards signals to partners that they’ve been sending controlling messages via text: “Congrats! With that last text you’ve achieved stalker status!” The card brings home the point with an image of a golden trophy on a marble pedestal.
For additional materials, visit Loveisrespect.org’s “Download Materials” page. There are palm cards that warn youth about potential abuse, bookmarks with contact information for Loveisrespect.org services, posters with information about dating abuse, and links to 50 handouts in PDF format.
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Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.