by Emily Fredette, Educator at Women Helping Battered Women
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month! All month long, adults and teens across the country will be raising awareness of teen dating violence and engaging in conversations about relationships. Teen Dating Violence is defined as a pattern of violence or coercive behaviors that someone uses to gain and maintain power and control over a current or former dating partner. Statistically 1 in 3 teens will be a survivor of dating abuse in their lifetime, and two out of every three teens know a survivor of dating abuse. It is an issue that is all too common in teen relationships.
This February, give the power back! Allow teens to take the lead in raising awareness and facilitating conversation.
Need a few ideas for engagement? Here’s what you can do:
- Participate in conversations about safe and healthy relationships. Check out this conversation guide from breakthecycle.org. Ask, listen, and validate youth opinions and experiences.
- Wear Orange on February 10th! Orange is the official color for teen dating violence awareness. Dress yourself from head to toe in orange to show your support. Encourage other adult allies to dress in orange too. Take a picture and post to social media!
- Promote awareness events during Respect Week 2015. Some ideas include hosting a relationship jeopardy game, getting athletes to don orange gear during a sporting event, or host a bake sale and donate the money to a local DV agency. Allow youth to take the lead, and support them to make it happen.
- Provide information about resources and support available for you. Make sure youth know where to access accurate information and confidential support. Look for a Vermont Network program near you.