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National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month January 20, 2012

Posted by Alicia in Education, How To Help, Teenage Relationships, What We're Up To.
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February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  What have we done, and what can we do to promote healthy relationships among teens?  In November, our bloggers and friends of unfollowcharlie raised awareness and contributed to Break the Cycle, a campaign in conjunction with loveisrespect.org.

With the help of our donation, Break the Cycle is:

Teaching teens the signs of abuse
Training the next generation of leaders about dating violence
Ensuring that teens in every state have basic rights, like access to restraining orders.

What can we do without even leaving our computers, iPads and iPhones?

On each Monday beginning January 16th (oops, missed one) you can tweet comments and answers to teens about what healthy relationships are. Tweet to #whatlovemeans on these dates:

Monday January 23rd
Monday, January 30th
Monday February 6th

The best answers will be retweeted at @Love_isNotAbuse and @Seventeenmag

On Facebook, you can post on your wall raising awareness.  Or do more, get creative!  And “like” or post on this page:

You can check out this list of states to see how yours stacks up with others in passing legislation about teen dating violence education and new laws protecting teens in need of a restraining order.  Don’t like what you see?  Contact your legislator, and if they don’t respond with legislation, ask the schools.  There are community programs that can help the schools and provide in-service training for certified teachers.

Read a transcript of the DVD available from the PBS program ‘in the mix’ for teens.

And, here is a FREE curriculum on teen dating violence with videos included to educate yourself, or even receive certification.

What still needs to be done to help teens maintain healthy relationships?

A lot.  But let’s start here. Very few domestic shelters accept teens as the primary victims, and most teen victims are not protected by law unless they are living with the abuser or have a child with him.  Advocating for effective and well funded programs to protect teens and help their abusers receive counseling is essential.  In terms of prevention, since most teens confide in their friends, and spend much of their day at school, educating teens about how to help their peers should be a top priority.


Voices Against Violence September 30, 2011

Posted by Alicia in Domestic Abuse, Education, help a friend.
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Voices Against Violence

My alma mater, the University of Texas is a beautiful, sprawling campus that holds great memories for me.  However, my freshmen year I was oblivious to the services that were available to me regarding safety on campus and stalking.  Had I known, I may have stopped in the campus Counseling and Mental Health Resource Center to ask what to do about a stranger who showed up after my classes, asked me out, and after I declined, followed me on campus for three days.  I think of all the women who aren’t as fortunate to have it end with the perpetrator just stopping the behavior. Today on the campus, programs like Voices Against Violence are raising awareness that help is available.

This year, UT is celebrating the tenth year of its program Voices Against Violence, sponsored by the Counseling and Mental Health Resource Center.  They have an extensive program that assists students with a variety of mental health concerns including dating relationships, sexual violence, and stalking.  Check out Building a Healthy Relationships from the Start.

CMHC’s biggest event to raise awareness occurs in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  If you walk through what we call the West Mall of the campus on awareness day, chances are you will be handed a carnation with a slip of paper attached to it.  Written on the paper is the story of a Texan who died that year due to domestic violence.  In 2008, program coordinators and volunteers passed out 2000 carnations.  Also at the event are students reading aloud some of the stories, calling out the warning signs of abusive relationships, and performing spoken word dialogues.

Voices Against Violence Theatre for Dialogue   is a program that uses theatre as a medium to involve students in learning about realistic scenarios in unhealthy relationships and healthy ways to respond to them. They give performances to student groups, faculty and community outreach programs.  The audience is an active participant in the performances.  Check out the video in the link!

The Counseling and Mental Health Resource Center also has reading materials that appeal to college students, offering realistic dialogue between someone in an unhealthy relationship and the friends who try to help.  Here is one example, the story of Kris and Franky, told in comic book style format.

Katy wrote about and posted the power and control wheel, an excellent visual educational tool for dating violence. The University of Texas takes pride in the degrees offered in its college of liberal arts for students who wish to be counselors  to the GLBT community, so I’d like to share with you the  GLBT power wheel, designed by the NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti Violence Project and posted at UT’s  CMHC site.  It has scenarios I wasn’t really conscious of until I saw the wheel, but now I know I’ve seen the type of control they are describing.

I encourage you to look at the links, there’s a comic,  a video,  a power wheel, and lots of great info on the healthy progression of relationships.

Make Back to School Count July 29, 2011

Posted by Alicia in Cool Stuff, Domestic Abuse, How To Help.
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Back to school sales to benefit RAINN: (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

You can take advantage of back-to-school sales at your favorite retailers and they’ll donate a portion to RAINN. Shop online now at Target, eBay, The Gap and more than 300 other national chains. They’ll donate a portion of your purchase to RAINN, and it won’t cost you a cent. All it takes is one click at RAINN’s shopping mall.

Here’s another easy way to benefit RAINN every time you shop: Download their EZ Shopper for Firefox or Internet Explorer.  It will automatically detect when you visit a participating retailer and make sure a portion gets donated to RAINN.  You don’t have to do a thing. (If you’ve recently upgraded to Firefox 5.0, you can install the latest shopper app here.)

Check the websites of your local safe house shelters to see if they are calling for back to school donations.  When you shop for back to school, buy some extra items and help out a child living in a safe house near you.

Source: RAINN

Peers Help Teens Understand Relationships – T.E.A.R. July 28, 2011

Posted by Alicia in Teenage Relationships, Uncategorized, Women Who Rock.
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In just four weeks, I’ll be back to packing school lunches and sitting through rush hour with teenagers talking in the back seat as if I can’t hear them.  It’s one of the best ways to learn about who has a crush on the soccer player, which teachers are the least desirable to have for science, and who the biggest bullies are.  It’s a time I look forward to being the invisible entity, the parent of a teen who doesn’t share everything with mom.  I’ve yet to meet a teen who does.

With that in mind, and knowing that my daughter’s best friend is already dating, it’s time for me to start thinking about how to talk about healthy dating relationships.  We’ve already shared ideas about self-respect, self-esteem and friendships, but there’s always that fear in the back of my mind that some of those lessons will be lost during one of the most difficult and emotional phases of my child’s life. (more…)

An app for Teen Dating June 27, 2011

Posted by Alicia in Teenage Relationships.
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A new app is available for smartphones which has a wealth of information to help teens recognize unhealthy dating relationships, ways to get help, and how to help others.  td411, or teen dating information, was developed by the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence with a $45,000 grant from the state.  The Coalition organized twenty teen focus groups to give their input about the design and content of the app.   The Institute for Community Research in Hartford and the Center for Youth Leadership in Norwalk worked with the Coalition to develop content that appeals to teens at the appropriate developmental level.

The app has colorful post-it-note style headings (Ur Relationships & U, Helpin’ u out, Do ur Part, and Interactive Fun) which have subheadings designed on a notebook background.  Under the heading “Ur relationships and U” the technology subsection has ten warning signs followed by videos to raise awareness about cell phone misuse and the consequences of sexting.  The subsection “Helpin’ u Out”  has concise lists of rights and responsibilites and a pledge for respecting oneself and others.  The app encourages teens to think about their values and boundaries and focuses on how to adhere to them. (more…)

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes – the International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence April 22, 2011

Posted by Alicia in Cool Stuff, Domestic Abuse, Local Heroes.
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Walk a Mile in her Shoes

In cities around the world, at various times of the year, men will be marching the streets in high heels, wearing t-shirts and holding up signs that say “walk a mile in her shoes.”

They will awkwardly stumble past red silhouetted sculptures dedicated to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Their feet will ache as they pass the clotheslines filled with t-shirts, each created by a survivor of domestic violence bravely telling her story. As the men march on for a mile, they can read signs hanging above an overwhelming number of high heels along the fence, each explaining the story of a child who was the victim of domestic or sexual abuse. They will make it to the finish line because they are dedicated to raising awareness; they are telling the world that this is not just a women’s issue.

These are the men of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: the International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence.


Growing Up – Adult Daughters of Battered Women: Growth After Violence April 8, 2011

Posted by Alicia in Domestic Abuse.
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Picture this: You are twelve years old. You are hiding under your bed listening to the the screaming, the scuffle, and then a loud thump.

You count the seconds of quiet. When you build up the courage to peer down the hall, you see your mother with blood on her face, lying in a fetal position. Dad scoops her up and slams her against the wall.

Fast Forward: You are now an adult. You have been a witness to years of domestic abuse. You are strong and confident, and you have healthy relationships.

How did that happen? Most of the research concludes that you would most likely have low self-esteem, troubled relationships, and a violent approach to solving problems.

I found a research study that discovered five themes that were common among women who have witnessed many years of domestic violence yet were able to carve out a life that is peaceful, rewarding, and free of violence.