New York State joins the nation in marking February as Teen Dating Abuse Awareness Month. View Governor Cuomo’s proclamation.
Check out these ideas and get involved to prevent dating abuse in your community. You may help save someone’s life.
Teen Dating Abuse is #NotJustPhysical
Check out this toolkit featuring posters and graphics designed to spread the word that dating abuse, especially among teens, often doesn’t involve physical injuries. Controlling and hurtful words are red flags in a dating relationship and can leave emotional scars. Verbal abuse can also escalate into physical harm.
Use them to start a conversation in person or on social media. Use the hash tag #NotJustPhysical and tag @NYSOPDV on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Be an active bystander. Speak up against any acts of dating abuse you see, whenever you see it. If someone is being treated in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, step in. When you see people targeting someone online, don’t ignore it, at least change the subject. Share this “ICanDoSomethingNY” video with your friends and check out the Resource Card (pdf) HTML (Web page) for more information.
Turn your school, community, and social media accounts orange for love. Wear orange on Tuesday February 13, 2018 or all month long. Wear orange shirts, nail polish, ribbons, hair extensions, face paint, shoelaces, or anything else!
Schools and youth programs can raise awareness of teen dating violence in a variety of ways:
- Download and display one or more of the four Teen Dating Abuse is #NotJustPhysical posters
- Why do you make me do this? (8.5 x 11 or 11x17)
- I know where you are. (8.5 x 11 or 11x17)
- Without me you’re nothing. (8.5 x 11 or 11x17)
- You’re lucky I love you. (8.5 x 11 or 11x17)
- Design your own banners, fliers or artistic displays to make a statement.
- Reach out to clubs and groups at your school to help organize/fund events (i.e., dramatic performances, speakers, educational campaigns, etc.).
- Write an article for your school newspaper to raise awareness of the issue.
- Ask your school to develop a dating abuse school policy.
- Like OPDV on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest news, campaigns and information. Encourage your friends to do the same.
- Volunteer at your local domestic violence program.
- Organize an event to raise money for a local domestic violence program or collect items the shelter needs.
- Ask your local elected officials to issue a proclamation marking February as Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month – or October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month – in your community.
Being an active bystander means doing something to stop abuse that is happening, intervene before abuse happens, or get help for the person being abused. You may not think it is your place to get involved, but dating abuse is not a personal problem. It is a serious crime that affects us all.
First and foremost, keep in mind safety: yours and the victim’s. You should never do anything that can put yourself or the person being abused in danger. If you think a situation might be dangerous, call 9-1-1.
There are many ways to safely be an active bystander:
- Speak out - If you see a friend talk to or treat his or her partner disrespectfully, say something. Try something like, “Hey. I heard the way you were talking to Chris. That was really mean. Why do you treat Chris like that?”
- Respond as a group - when talking to someone about abuse, it sometimes helps to have friends join you for the conversation.
- Create a distraction - If you see someone being abusive, create a distraction. For example, spill your drink, ask the abuser for directions, or stand nearby pretending to talk on your cell phone.
Remember – If things get out of hand or become too serious, or if you’re not sure what to do, call 9-1-1.
For more on being an active bystander: