One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner
Every year, My Sisters’ Place’s Domestic Violence Education and Prevention team travels to over 60 schools and community groups across the county to talk to teens and tweens about healthy relationships. By speaking to as many young people as possible each year, we aim to give the next generation a tool kit of information and resources to guide them through their relationships. You can use these same tools in conversations with the youth in your life.
1. Empower their decision-making
Through our trainings, we empower youth to be able to understand the differences between healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships. Instead of focusing on a list of Do’s and Don’t’s, we teach them a method to determine, on their own, what is abusive and what is simply unhealthy. This is an important distinction to be able to make because sometimes the line between each type of relationship isn’t very clear.
- When is teasing all in good fun and when is it meant to put someone down?
- If my partner loves me, shouldn’t I be willing to tell them everything I do and everywhere I go?
- If my partner gets angry or jealous when I do something, isn’t it my fault?
These are just a few of the scenarios that young people are trying to navigate. Here’s a video to help you and the youth in your life understand the spectrum of healthy to abusive relationships.
2. Teach them their rights
Another tool we offer is a list of relationship rights. By providing a printed postcard, these youth have something to refer to in the future or show to friends who might be struggling. It’s important to remember that no matter how great of a listener you may be or may think you are, a child might not always feel comfortable sharing with you – and that’s ok. By giving this list to your child, they have something to refer to in the moments when they aren’t sure if they should speak with an adult. (To print, click the image to open the file in a new window)
3. Learn about available resources
There are many resources in Westchester that are there to help youth who are dealing with teen dating violence. If you have children or work with children, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the resources in your area so you can reach out with questions or pass this contact information to someone in need. Each organization on our list below has experience working with youth to help them find safety and support.
Click to find out more about My Sisters’ Place’s Education and Prevention Programs and the signs of teen dating violence.