Workshops are facilitated by the TeenSafe Coordinator and – when available – trained Peer Fellows (students in grades 10-12).
It seems like dating abuse should be easy to spot. It’s often associated with physical violence and yelling, clearly identifiable behaviors in an intimate relationship. While it’s true that one person’s abusive tactics could include things like hitting and verbal abuse, when you look more closely, abuse is really about control. It often happens in private (including in texts and other virtual spaces) and can be very confusing, as some manipulative words and actions appear at the surface to be loving, thoughtful, and kind. In reality, they can be something quite different.
TeenSafe works to help teens and adults recognize controlling behavior (often not as easy as it sounds!) and know what to do if they see, hear about, or experience it firsthand.
Importantly, TeenSafe is unique in working primarily in Jewish spaces. In hosting these workshops, synagogues, day schools, camps, and other Jewish programs underscore the reality that domestic and dating abuse happen in the Jewish community and that we need to talk about it – using Jewish values -- in Jewish spaces.
- High school and middle school students in synagogues, youth groups, day schools, camps, and other youth-focused programs
- Parents/guardians (workshops offered separately from teen programs)
- Advisors, educators, clergy, camp staff, and other adults who are engaged with tweens and teens
The TeenSafe Coordinator partners with Peer Fellows to develop fun, engaging, interactive, and informative workshops. While these goals may vary depending on the length of the program, our overall intentions are for participants to…
- Identify healthy, unhealthy, controlling, and/or abusive behaviors in intimate relationships
- Explore the ways in which some behaviors that seem to be loving or kind might actually be controlling or manipulative
- Better understand why it can be hard to decide whether to stay or break up with someone who acts in controlling or abusive ways
- Learn about ways to support someone who is being mistreated by their partner
- Know where they or someone they care about can find help and support
- Think about how they can take care of themselves while supporting someone else
Each TeenSafe workshop is designed in partnership with someone from the host site in order to ensure that the program is age-appropriate and reflects the overarching norms and values of the host community.
Programs vary in length to fit the time available (such as a class period). We offer both single and multi-session workshops. We also offer workshops for parents/guardians, educators/advisors, and other adults that can be scheduled concurrently with – or entirely separate from – a workshop for teens.
Our Community-Focused Approach
TeenSafe is committed to addressing teen dating abuse within the Jewish community and beyond.
We understand that almost any group of teens will reflect a wide range of dating experience and that some teens will not date or engage in an intimate relationship of any kind while they are in high school. While TeenSafe workshops can help students recognize abusive behavior in their own relationship, it is primarily geared toward speaking to a whole community: What do we need to know? What is our role? What can we do to support someone who is being mistreated by a partner or work to prevent abuse in our community?
A key message in our workshops is the idea that any one of us might be in a position at some point to play an important role in helping a friend find support or assistance (and where/how to find that help).
The goal is for everybody in the community - friends, parents/guardians, youth group advisors, educators, counselors, coaches, clergy, and administrators - to have the same information about identifying abusive behaviors so we can be there for each other if the need arises.
“I really like being able to teach people our own age, because we want them to know it’s an important issue. It’s easier to talk with other kids than adults.” –TeenSafe Peer Leader
“Having our daughter learn to deal with tough issues within a Jewish setting is particularly meaningful. We can see that the program gives her a unique opportunity to work out problems in a safe setting.” –parent of a TeenSafe participant
TeenSafe awareness-raising workshops are offered at no cost for the host sites. There also is no charge to join the Peer Fellow program. For more information or to schedule a workshop, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.