February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month. Communities across the country are working together with young people and schools to promote healthy attitudes and behavior among young people, and to help teens who are experiencing violence or abuse. Young people who are informed and empowered are more likely to succeed in all of their relationships and less likely to engage in violence or to believe violence is acceptable.
Love What’s Real Campaign has 3 simple steps for your school or community to join in the movement to end violence! Join the movement today!
Transforming our schools and communities and out-thinking teen relationship abuse and sexual assault takes more than just fresh ideas – we need young people who are driven to change the culture.
Persuade young people to get involved and to create their own campaign and other activities for National Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month.
Harness their awesome energy and unleash it on a cause they care about – relationships. Young people have the vision and the power to lead. Persuading young people to act is not only a good thing but in fact necessary for social change.
Small numbers can make big things happen. There is no magic number of young people needed to launch a campaign for National Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month.
Reach out to youth leaders, student groups, sports teams, and more! Provide young people resources and support and be sure you have the approval of your school’s administration. Recruit those students who are opinion leaders (not just the ones who sign up to be in leadership clubs) within your school—they can be the ones who really spread the word and impact others!
And don’t forget to engage adults! Schools and communities have adult champions – administrators, teachers, school counselors, school resource officers, in-school organization advisors, and coaches.
Teens care about their friends and their relationships – during adolescence peer relationships are more important than at any other time in our lives. Start by asking young people what they value in a friend or partner, what makes relationships work, and what do they think others need to know to keep their relationships strong. Teens are the experts so ask them to take the lead and your campaign will be more relevant and more effective.
Teens know what unhealthy and abusive relationships look like, sound like, and feel like, but may not have the knowledge and skills for healthy relationships.
The Love What’s Real campaign is designed to build knowledge and skills for healthy relationships. Use these FREE materials during February, National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month to inspire young people to choose healthy relationships for themselves and to influence their friends.
The Real Moments. Real Relationships. campaign was developed for teens by teens. It features messages about building healthy relationships in ways that are relevant, respectful and meaningful to young people.
Display the posters in common areas around your school where teens hang out (lunchroom, locker rooms, bathrooms, hallways) and in classrooms (teens read posters on the walls in classrooms!). Distribute other materials in fun and creative ways. See below. Submit your order quickly as supplies are limited.
Enhance your campaign by asking students to use the statements provided at the end of this document during morning announcements. Give them an opportunity to adapt the statements or to create new ones in their own words.
Teens are more likely to get involved in National Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month when activities are within their comfort zone and pose minimal social risks or other barriers to participation.
Avoid activities that focus on violence or abuse, use “adult language” such as domestic violence, are too time-intensive, and are developmentally inappropriate or outright disrespectful to teens. Sometimes the only way to know if your idea is appropriate and respectful is to ask teens themselves and to trust their judgment.
Campaigns led by young people who are opinion leaders and influencers in your school help, minimize the perceived social risks of participating! Promote the positive- trust, equality, safety, and respect – and make these characteristics more attractive than abusive or controlling behavior. Make it easy for all teens to get involved.
February is a great time to launch a campaign. Teen dating violence is on the public radar, providing opportunities to tie your campaign into state and national events. Look for opportunities to build on traditional Valentine’s Day activities with new content on safe and healthy relationships.
You don’t have to limit your efforts to February, Homecoming, Prom, and, of course, any day of the year are also great times to focus on healthy relationships
Make sure to advertise your events to reach as many youth and adults as possible. Showcase your work on the school website, local media, an awards banquet, or other public events. Celebrate small and ongoing victories to keep young people engaged.