Hello parents and teachers!
In this month’s RespecText, we have quite a bit of news to cover, as well as opportunities for teens to Start Talking. Plus we’ll discuss Jay-Z, Solange, Beyonce, and the now-famous elevator footage.
Tools for Teens
- Speaking of Beyonce, we blogged about the song “Jealous” from her latest album. As we’ve said before, current songs and pop culture offer a great opportunity for conversations about the messages they’re hearing about relationships.
- What is sexual coercion? It constitutes a spectrum of behaviors, so it’s important to recognize warning signs and understand the definition of healthy consent.
- Our partner, Break the Cycle, recently took the Start Talking curriculum to teens and adults in New Mexico. Next up: Oklahoma!
- The loveisrespect website is now available in Spanish!
- Snapchat, an app that’s popular among teens, recently agreed to settle charges by the FTC that messages sent through the app don’t disappear as the company claims. If your teen has a smartphone (or access to the internet), s/he is most likely using many apps on a daily basis, as well as multiple social media sites. Snapchat’s case highlights the importance of regular discussions about privacy policies and safe practices online. Make sure your teen is aware that “what happens on the internet stays on the internet.”
- Carolina Panthers’ defensive end Greg Hardy is the latest NFL player to be accused of domestic violence. We mentioned in last month’s newsletter that stories like this provide an opportunity to talk with young men (and women) about healthy vs. unhealthy relationships. Since alcohol was allegedly involved in the Hardy case, it might also be helpful to discuss how it can escalate abusive situations but is not an excuse for abusive behavior.
By now, you’ve probably heard about or seen the footage of Solange, Beyonce’s sister, physically attacking Jay-Z, Beyonce’s husband, in an elevator. The video quickly spread around the internet after it was leaked to TMZ. It was shocking of course, but perhaps equally shocking was how many people responded by making jokes about it.
At loveisrespect, we know that abuse in relationships is a serious issue – after all, one in ten high school students has experienced physical violence from a dating partner in the past year. We also know that it can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or socioeconomic status. Joking about any kind of relationship violence only serves to diminish people’s perception of its severity, and it does a great disservice to victims and survivors who experience real pain. We encourage you to take these opportunities to talk to your teen about healthy ways to deal with conflict, and let them know that violence is never okay – or a joke.
According to the Center for Public Integrity, students found ‘responsible’ for sexual assault on school or university campuses “often face little or no punishment from school judicial systems, while their victims’ lives are frequently turned upside down.” In response, the White House is cracking down on campus sexual assault, and as part of its plan it created a website, NotAlone.gov. This site provides information and resources for students and anyone interested in learning more about how to respond to and prevent sexual assault in schools and on college and university campuses.
If you know a teen who might be experiencing abuse, we are here to help. Our advocates are available by phone 24/7/365 at 1-866-331-9474. They can also be reached through online chat at loveisrespect.org. All contact is free, anonymous and confidential.