A blog post listing 10 ways everyone can get involved to end teen dating violence.
Small Actions Lead to Big Change for #TDVAM2021
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). You have the power to spread knowledge about this important issue and make a difference!
We know that abuse and violence affect entire communities for generations. As a result, it’s everyone’s responsibility to promote healthy relationships, work to prevent abuse from happening in the first place, and to help connect survivors with services. Teen dating violence is a community issue! For more general information about dating abuse, read our article here.
Here are 10 small actions you can take to stop dating violence before it starts, or help survivors of dating violence find support, free services, safety, hope, and healing at Safe+Sound Somerset.
- Learn the warning signs of dating violence and share with others.
For more warning signs of abuse, see this page from The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
- High school students: apply to participate in our virtual, 5th annual SPEAK Teen Leadership Camp, coming up this July! Follow us on social media (Instagram, Facebook) for updates about applying, coming soon.
- Believe teen survivors! If a friend confides in you, listen and validate their experiences. Don’t try to be the fact finder and question what they are saying – this is a form of victim blaming. Provide resources like our 24/7 call or text support hotline – 866.685.1122.You can even offer to sit with your friend while they contact us to talk, or call us yourself to talk it out. We’re experts, and we can help!
- Change the language of victim blaming when you hear it in your community or online. Change, “If she was wearing that, she was asking for trouble,” to, “It wasn’t her fault.”
- Teens and those who care about teens: catch up on episodes of Ask Ava, the podcast where we answer questions about relationships from real teens in Somerset County. In February, we’re leading a whole series about the myths surrounding teen dating violence and how to get help.Listen wherever you listen to podcasts, or on our website, linked above!! Transcripts are available on our Buzzsprout site.Bonus: “Ask Ava” your own questions about healthy and unhealthy friendships and relationships here!
- Adults who work with youth: request our free Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Toolkit for Middle and/or High School Youth. Our toolkit includes a Safe Relationships poster, and virtual learning + curriculum aligned activities for any group about healthy friendships, healthy relationships, and dating violence.
- Practice mindfulness and self-care. Working to prevent violence and supporting survivors of abuse is stressful. Yoga with Adriene has a short 6-minute video to practice slow, deep breathing and meditation for all ages – check it out here!
- Recognize when jealousy moves from “normal” to extreme. Call out these things when you hear them, if you feel safe. If you don’t feel safe, reach out to an adult or call or text our hotline for supportive listening and safety planning at 866-685-1122.
- Watch these short videos from One Love’s “That’s Not Love” campaign. Notice how the phrase, “Because I love you,” changes. Then share with your friends and network! Video 1, Video 2
- Raise awareness on social media and/or tell us how you are spreading the word! Share information or images from S+SS’ social media to your feeds and encourage your followers to join in and reshare. Or, team up with a group or school club to lead a PSA campaign for your community! Use the hashtag #TDVAM2021 and tag @safesoundsomerset so we can follow along!
Bonus: Sign up to be an official Social Ambassador, a virtual volunteering opportunity, with our organization. Share and help us get the word out!
Partner with Safe+Sound Somerset this February and take small actions today that can result in huge impacts on the lives of teens in our community and their families!
9.4% of students statistic: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Girls and young women statistic: Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice and Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the United States, 1993-2004. Dec. 2006.
1 in 3 teens statistic: Haynie, D.L. et al. (2013). Dating Violence Perpetration and Victimization among US Adolescents: Prevalence, Patterns, and Associations with Health Complaints and Substance Use. Journal of Adolescent Health 53(2), 194-201.