Climate MattersFor too long we have treated teen dating abuse as an inevitable part of some teen relationships. In terms of prevention, we thought that the best that we could do was to try to protect the kids in our communities by telling them about abuse, by warning them about red flags, and by trying to equip them with the skills necessary to dodge abusive relationships.
Standing 4 Respect in Youth Service OrganizationsWhen we think about a social problem, the policies and practices in place in our organizations may not be our first thought. But organizational policies formally articulate our standards, and as such, they are a critical building block of a healthy organizational climate. This matters. Because teens spend most of their time in organizations (youth groups, sports teams camps, Boys and Girls Clubs, 4-H, etc.), and because they are the spaces where youth interact, teen dating abuse happens there. By preventing abuse within youth serving organizations, AND by creating broad buy-in for healthy relationships in those settings, we will reduce the prevalence of this social problem among teens.
Standing 4 Respect at School
Teens consistently report that abuse and harassment are happening at school (AAUW, 2011).
There has long been a sense among adults that these behaviors are just “kids being kids”, and that verbal harassment doesn’t have a significant impact. But young people tell us that they are negatively impacted by these behaviors. In the American Association of University Women’s 2011 report about sexual harassment in schools, 48% of students reported an experience of sexual harassment within the 2010-2011 school year, and the majority of those reported that the experience had a negative effect on them. Girls identified negative impacts including loss of sleep (22%), and not wanting to go to school (37%).