Talking with teens about dating abuse can be difficult. It’s hard to know where to begin.
JF&CS TeenSafe has put together some resources designed to help you start this conversation with the teens in your life. Also, note that our TeenSafe staff and high school-aged Peer Leaders are ready to bring a workshop or series of workshops to your community to help raise awareness about dating abuse and get everyone talking about safe and healthy relationships!
*Created by the TeenSafe Peer Leaders for TDVAM 2022
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
This year's national theme... Talk About It
In the spirt of this year's theme, we are encouraging teens and adults in Jewish formal and informal youth programs to talk about what makes a dating relationship healthy, unhealthy, controlling, or abusive. Whether you are a teen, youth advisor, educator or parent, we hope that you will start - and then continue - a conversation this month and beyond!
Click here to download the TeenSafe Teen Dating Abuse Month Toolkit!
Don't know what to say? We can help you get going with some conversation starters...
- Learn more about the issue at Love is Respect, One Love Foundation, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Teen Dating Violence page. Love is Respect and One Love have ideas and tools you can use in conversations with your teens.
- Share some statistics about teen dating violence (easiest to find on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website).
- Click here for some common myths you can bring up with your friends or with teens in your group or class. To make things more relatable, ask them to think of some examples from movies, books, plays, music, or shows that illustrate how these myths are either perpetuated or exploded.
- Watch some short videos on the One Love Foundation website and talk about them.
- Read, share, and talk about TeenSafe's Guide to Supporting a Friend Who is In a Controlling or Abusive Relationship
- Open a conversation about dating. Note that the goal isn't to push people to disclose personal stories. Instead, focus on making sure that everyone knows that there are people who can help and support them AND that everyone has access to information and tools to be able to help a friend.
- Share and discuss TeenSafe blogs - written by our high school-aged Peer Leaders.
Okay, now you're talking about the issue. That's great! Wondering what else you can do?
We were hoping you'd ask! February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Please help spread awareness about the issue by...
- Participating in Wear Orange Day: Encourage teens and adults in your community to wear orange on Tuesday, February 8th, 2022. Take a group photo/screenshot (or post individual pictures) with the hashtags #TalkAboutIt, #TDVAM2022, #loveshouldbesafe, #teensafe, and #orange4love. If your group is meeting on a different day, it's of course totally fine to post a screenshot or photos whenever you can.
- Finding a way to Chalk About Love: find ways to leave chalk messages on driveways, streets (if you can do it safely!), the sides of buildings...wherever. Remember to take a picture of what you do and post it on your social media. If you would prefer to stay inside (it is February, after all), it's also fine to create digital chalk messages to share with your community.
- Follow JF&CS TeenSafe (@teensafe_jfcs) on Instagram and share our posts. Also use your social media platforms to share messages from organizations like Love is Respect and One Love Foundation.
It's good to know our local and national resources, just in case someone tells you they need help or support
There are definitely people who can help you and the teen who needs help or support.
- JF&CS Journey to Safety (the program that runs TeenSafe) offers consultation and support from people experiencing dating or domestic abuse, as well as concerned professionals, family members, colleagues, neighbors, and friends.
- For consultation or support related to teen dating abuse, contact Elizabeth Schön Vainer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-647-5327.
- Love is Respect runs a 24/7 confidential, anonymous helpline for people who are experiencing abuse and for people who are supporting someone they care about
- The Shalom Task Force is a national organization that also offers a Jewish response to domestic and dating abuse.
And finally...please consider starting or continuing this conversation by hosting a TeenSafe program for your youth group, school, or other community organization!
- TeenSafeis designed to help teens recognize controlling and abusive behaviors in dating relationships and to know what to do if they see, hear about, or experience any of these behaviors.
- TeenSafe programs are tailored to each site. We plan with our host sites to be sure the program we bring is designed for your community.
- Whenever possible, some of our high school-aged TeenSafe Peer Leaders join our TeenSafe Coordinator to co-lead workshops.
- We can offer a single workshop or multiple sessions, depending on the time you have available.
- We work in-person and on Zoom.
- There is no charge for any of our programs.
- You can learn more about TeenSafe and our Peer Leader program for high school students here.
Get the conversation started with TeenSafe!
TeenSafe is designed to help teens recognize controlling and abusive behaviors in dating relationships and to know what to do if they see, hear about, or experience any of these behaviors.
TeenSafe's free programs are tailored to each site. We plan with our host sites to be sure the program we bring is designed for your community.