February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month. February 10th -14th is Respect Week hosted by the Love is Respect National Youth Advisory Board. Love is Respect is a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The board is made up of 24 individuals ranging in age from 14-24. The message they are promoting this week is that love has many definitions, but abuse isn’t one of them.
At Love is Respect advocates take calls, chats and texts from teens and 20 something’s who have questions about relationships. Respect is an issue that repeatedly comes up. In the United States one in three teens are victims of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a partner. Women in their teens and early twenties experience abuse at almost three times the frequency of older women. Abuse also occurs in same sex relationships or from females to males. Teen dating awareness month provides an opening to talk to teenagers in your life about what a healthy relationship should look like.
Respect week is an opportunity for teens, schools, and youth leaders to participate in teen domestic violence month. A downloadable guide is available at http://loveisrespect.org. The week kicks off on Monday February 10th by wearing orange. Orange shirts, socks, hairbands, earrings and fingernail polish are hoped to be seen in hallways in high schools and colleges. It’s encouraged to post pictures of your participation on http://facebook.com/loveisrespectpage.
The week wraps up on Valentine’s Day with the first ever National Respect Announcement thunderclap. Social media is being utilized fully with Facebook, Twitter @loveisrespect, and Instagram @loveisrespectofficial. The message to be shared through social media for the thunderclap is “It’s #Valentines Day – everyone deserves a safe & healthy relationship. Visit http://loveisrespect.org "
The best way to avoid an abusive relationship is by never getting into one. When communities work together with programs like Love is Respect we educate our young people. This is where we might stop someone from becoming an abuser, and another from becoming a victim.That is stopping the cycle of abuse.