Did you know that February 4 – 8 is “National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Week” in the US? Across the country, schools, community organizations and others will be providing awareness and education programs to focus on this issue.
One really great (and relatively new resource) founded by CAEPV Member Liz Claiborne Inc. is the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at http://www.loveisrespect.org/ or 1-866-331-9474. If you have not taken a look at this site, you should. It includes a “Teen Dating Bill of Rights” and videos submitted by teens for a “Love is Respect” contest – plus lots of helpful information! They also have "live chat" available several hours a day. This is important because teens (as opposed to adults) make important decisions based on information and advice they receive in the Web.
For younger “tweens” there is GirlsAllowed (http://www.girlsallowed.org/), the award-winning website created by the Corporate Alliance. It is designed to help engage them in developing the building blocks of healthy relationships. And from the CDC there is http://www.chooserespect.org/ which is also geared toward ages 11 – 14.
Finally, check out http://www.thesafespace.org/ created by Break the Cycle and sponsored by CAEPV Members Verizon Wireless and The Avon Foundation.
Of course, these are not the only sites around, just some suggestions. For more links, visit the Teen Resources page on the CAEPV website.
I remember having a conversation with my dad when we first created "Anni" and GirlsAllowed and I was showing him the first three episodes. We were talking about how parents talk to their kids about so many other important things -- but not healthy dating relationships or how to spot potential abuse.
He said, "It never entered my mind to talk to you about someone treating you badly, because I never thought anyone would ever treat you that way." I said, "Dad, that is exactly the reason we created the site-- for parents like you that assume that the people dating their daughters and sons will treat them well. " He thought that made a lot of sense. (And he thought Anni was pretty cool!)
So -- if you have tweens or teens, or are an adult who cares about them, take the opportunity to take a look at these sites and get educated. The kids we love deserve the very best, don't they?