Education & Prevention – Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month 2020
Research shows that 1 in 3 adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and that nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. However, 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue. These alarming statistics speak to the urgency and importance of increasing knowledge and awareness about teen dating violence. Women In Distress’ Education & Prevention Department helps to promote awareness of this issue all year long and especially during February, which is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
This February 2020, the Education & Prevention department reached a total of 1,978 students, professionals, and community members through 80 prevention education sessions, domestic violence and teen dating violence trainings, and public awareness events!
These numbers include reaching:
- 973 students and other youth through prevention education initiatives aimed at teaching healthy relationship skills and building awareness of teen dating violence and domestic violence warning signs and red flags. This number includes students reached through one-session teen dating violence presentations as well as implementations of our middle and high school prevention curricula at schools around the county, including at:
- Coral Glades High School
- Coral Springs Charter School
- Eagles Nest Charter School
- Glades Middle School
- Hallandale High School
- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
- Miramar High School
- Northeast High School
- Somerset Academy (Pembroke Pines)
- Stranahan High School
- Students from across Broward County through the school district’s Spring GSA Summit event
- 129 professionals working in the local community and with youth through training sessions on domestic violence dynamics, teen dating dynamics, red flags, and best practices for supporting survivors and holding abusers accountable.
- 876 general community members through participation at local public awareness and tabling events.
Highlights from education sessions with youth:
- Post-assessment responses to “Have your relationships changed as a result of this class?” and “What was the most important thing you learned in this class?”
- “To respect people’s boundaries and to think clearly while in a relationship.”
- “I’ve noticed some red flag behaviors with friends.”
- “I learned the red flags of unhealthy and abusive relationships, and how to tell the difference.”
- “I really enjoyed having an open discussion about digital abuse.”
- “This was a really big eye opener for those who go through an abusive relationship.”
- Teachable moment: While facilitating our B.O.L.D. high school program, the Teen Dating Violence Specialist encountered a student in the class who was being disruptive and giving problems to the teacher early on in the class period. However, he later opened up and shared after a few sessions that he had experienced some of the things we were talking about. As he went through the sessions, he started feeling more comfortable to ask questions and engage, and his classmates supported him in a non-judgmental and empowering way.
Some especially notable TDVAM events and happenings include:
- Student-led awareness projects at Ramblewood Middle School. In January, our primary prevention team facilitated our “Imagine…A World Where Love Doesn’t Hurt” prevention curricula with peer counseling students at Ramblewood Middle School. At the end of the program, the Prevention Specialists talked about Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month coming up in February, and the students decided to plan extra projects to share what they learned through our program with their peers and to bring awareness to their school about this important issue.
- Day of Service and Love – the students participated in the county-wide “Day of Service and Love” in honor of the anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. They organized a donation campaign in which they collected toiletries and items for survivors in shelters, as well as homemade Valentine’s Day Cards with supportive and encouraging messages. They even got the art class involved to donate dog treats and portraits of pets for awareness of our pet shelter!
- Awareness board – with the help of their peer counseling teacher, the students also set up an awareness bulletin board highlighting healthy relationships, red flags for abuse, and how to get help
- Participation in statewide Youth Summit in Orlando: Education & Prevention staff facilitated a presentation for and represented Broward County at the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s annual Youth Summit – an education event organized for youth across the state to learn about teen dating violence and healthy relationships.
- Prevention Summit Community Training: Along with some of our collaborative education partners – Nova Southeastern University’s Title IX team and Goodman Jewish Family Services – the Education & Prevention team created, planned, and implemented this TDVAM professionals training with the goal of sharing important and often overlooked prevention information about teen dating violence and other issues affecting youth. Utilizing the expertise of various community members and organizations, this summit covered a wide range of topics that included: teen dating violence, consent, sexual health, addictions, and empowering youth to take part in cultivating positive social change. Some notable comments from attendees included:
- “I learned a lot about teen dating violence which I was not too informed about. I learned that it is much more serious than I would have thought. Thank you for the training opportunity.”
- “Tons of great info!”
- “Great workshops and opportunities to engage in thought-provoking conversations and best practices. Excellent!”
- “This was an amazing training, I gained so many resources and networking to be able to do my job at a higher standard.”
- “This is the first summit/conference I’ve been to that I felt very connected and engaged with the material and learned so much.”
- “What a great summit! Very practical and engaging.”
#ChalkAboutLove: Inspired by an activity promoted by Break The Cycle, a national organization that engages youth on the issue of teen dating violence, the Education & Prevention department asked staff members to reflect on their ideas about what (healthy) love means to them. We had three different hashtag prompts for staff to reflect on: #RelationshipGoals, #LoveIs…, #That’sNotCool.
Staff “Wear Orange” Day: To celebrate TDVAM and to build awareness, staff were asked to wear orange:
If you are interested in having a WID Prevention Specialist facilitate a onetime presentation, the “Imagine” program, or B.O.L.D. program for your students anytime of the year, please reach out to Emily Janas, Education & Prevention Supervisor at firstname.lastname@example.org.