Wow, what an incredible month! This month we brought awareness to many aspects of teen dating abuse, from the types of abuse, to what a healthy relationship looks like, to what you can to help. We want to thank every individual person and organization who participated in TDVAM. Thank you for helping to shed light on the important issue of teen dating violence.
What we did this TDVAM:
- Week 1: Abuse defined
This first week in February, we mainly focused on what abuse was, how we defined it, and the possible warning signs and red flags that abuse is happening in a relationship. We started the week with some posts defining dating abuse, and what the line between healthy and unhealthy behaviors looked like. All relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive, with unhealthy somewhere in the middle. We helped define where the lines between the three are.
In the middle of the week, we had a poll about the warning signs of abuse. We asked: Which of the following is NOT a warning sign of abuse? You can learn what the answer was and why on our blog . We also posted about the importance of abuse in LGTBQ+ relationships . LGBTQ+ people experience dating abuse at the same rates, and in similar ways, that heterosexual couples do.
Last in the week, a member of our Training Team took over our Instagram stories to help educate everyone about the many different types of abuse and the warning signs of abuse. We also covered how a relationship can still be abusive, even without physical violence. One common example of this is verbal/emotional abuse .
- Week 2: Respect week
Respect Week is held during the second week in February, and it’s where we make the most noise in bringing awareness to teen dating abuse. We themed everything in this week about, RESPECT. We started the week with respect for boundaries, both physical and emotional, and how to set them. We also hosted a webinar the same day as our Respect Announcement, in preparation for Wear Orange day on February 11th. Wear Orange Day is the day everyone wears orange to spread awareness of the incredibly important issue of teen dating violence. We partnered with the One Love Foundation to collectively post about this important awareness day and encouraged other individuals and organizations to participate.
In the middle of the week, we encouraged everyone to respect themselves by practicing some much-needed self-care . Everyone needs self-care, and it is especially important for those who are recovering from the trauma of abuse to practice it as well. We also hosted a Facebook Live AMA (Ask Me Anything) with two of our Advocates on February 13th. They answered many important questions that they hear both on the lines and through our live chat during the stream. You can still view this Facebook live on our Facebook Page.
- Week 3: Digital abuse
This week we mostly focused on digital abuse and the warning signs that go with it. Digital abuse is a relatively new type of abuse, especially with the growth of social media, GPS, and smart phones. We started the week with posts about how to stay safe online, and then on Tuesday we had a poll about common digital abuse survivor stories. We asked: Which of the following stories do you think is abusive? You can learn what the answer was and why on our blog.
In the middle of the week a member of our Admin team took over our Instagram stories to help educate everyone about digital abuse and its warning signs .
Later in the week we posted about unhealthy texting/sexting and when they become abusive. Obsessive texting and pressure to sext when you don’t want to are definite warning signs of abuse. We also posted about consent, the stigma around how society doesn’t talk about it enough, and what it does and doesn’t look like.
- Week 4: What can I do to help?
For the last week of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, we themed it around what you or a “helper” could do to help spread awareness of dating abuse. We define a “helper” as anyone who comes into contact with teens such as teachers, counselors, therapists, parents, coaches, friends, etc. We started the week strong with a Tweetstorm that several national and local organizations took part in for a whole hour.
In the middle of the week we focused on how you can help a friend, and what you can say to your teen , if you’re a parent, to help youth learn more about healthy relationships. We also hosted another Facebook Live “How You Can Help” on February 27th. Advocates focused on all of these topics by explaining how you can help a friend , how to help your child , how to help others set boundaries , and how to take care of yourself during the process with self-care . You can still view this Facebook live on our Facebook Page.
Later in the week, one member of our Programs Team took over our Instagram stories to help educate everyone about the many different ways you can get involved by spreading awareness of TDVAM and how you can help someone experiencing abuse. She featured Advocates speaking about the different ways to help others in this difficult situation, and also included a bit in Spanish !
Thank you to everyone who got involved this TDVAM, and we hope you continue to help us spread awareness of teen dating abuse all year-round!