TeenSafe Advisors Group 2013
"I carry memories of my ex-boyfriend, mostly bad. I loved him so I couldn't let go, even though he hurt me. In the beginning he was kind and charming. He was smart, he was fun, and he seemed like such a catch. His behavior changed gradually and I have to carry the mistake of giving in… I fell in the trap and thought I loved him so much that I could not stop and save myself even though he was hurting me.
"I carry a responsibility to look out for other teenage girls who may be experiencing similar challenges. I carry a responsibility to spread the message and fight back. I carry this responsibility because what I went through was so horrible that I could not bear to see another teen in an abusive relationship. Because of this I carry strength and optimism… I carry pride that I was able to put my life back together again, and I carry hope that other girls will be able to as well."
-Excerpt from an essay written by an 18-year-old survivor of teen dating abuse.
Do you know what teen dating abuse looks like? Do you know who it happens to? Can you recognize the warning signs?
JF&CS Journey to Safety's TeenSafe program is designed to teach youth how to recognize teen dating abuse and respond to it. As TeenSafe participants, we have learned that abuse is about control. It's not only physical but also verbal, emotional, financial, sexual, and spiritual. It can happen to anyone, regardless of their gender, religion, race, or economic status. It's really common, but it shouldn't be. Teen dating abuse continues to be an issue because many teens and adults don't think or believe it exists. If teens or adults don't think teen dating abuse exists, then they don't know when it's happening. This is why we want to teach others to recognize the signs of abuse.
Did you know that one in three teens in a dating relationship has been verbally, emotionally, sexually, or physically abused?
TeenSafe has provided us with eye-opening experiences to learn about teen dating abuse. We are passionate about taking action and realize the role we can have in our communities in both spreading awareness and preventing abuse. It is exciting to see that what we've learned can make a difference now that we have the tools to help both ourselves and our peers.
By participating in TeenSafe we have gained insight into teenage dating abuse and are now prepared to inform the Jewish community. We are looking forward to sharing this knowledge through trainings for local synagogues, youth groups, and schools. Our workshops are interactive, informative, and fun! They can be geared toward middle school or high school students, and we'll work with you to create the most appropriate program for your school or youth group. Please contact Elizabeth Schön Vainer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-647-5327 (JFCS) if you want us to bring a TeenSafe workshop to your teen program.
This blog was written by 11th and 12th grade TeenSafe Advisors.
Funded through a generous grant from the Boston Jewish Community Women's Fund, TeenSafe is JF&CS Journey to Safety's response to dating abuse in the Jewish community. The program is designed to give teens the language and the tools they need to recognize abuse in an intimate relationship and know how to respond if they see, hear about, or experience it.