Hello, and thanks for checking out the October issue of RespecText!
Lots of goodies this month, so let’s get to it.
Tools for Teens
- Rejection’s no fun, but it’s a part of (dating) life. So how do you deal with it in a healthy way?
- National Youth Advisory Board member Alexis writes about witnessing abuse growing up and making decisions about her own relationships.
- What’s the connection between substance abuse and dating abuse?
- October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and there is still time to get involved! (Of course, we believe that ANY month is a good month to spread awareness about domestic and dating violence.) At the University of Texas at Austin, Voices Against Violence has been celebrating Relationship Violence Prevention Month and promoting healthy relationships across campus. We are so proud to share a city with this great organization!
- You may be aware of the ongoing sexual abuse and harassment allegations involving several popular YouTube users. The most recent is Sam Pepper, who uploaded a video of what he deemed a “social experiment” in which he touched women on the street, presumably without their consent. Sex education activist and YouTube star Laci Green protested the video for promoting sexual harassment, which started a firestorm of protest from other users. YouTube has since removed Pepper’s video, but these issues are ongoing. You can read more about YouTube sexual abuse issues dating back to 2012 here. As we’ve said before, while social media provides copious outlets for positive expression and connection, it can also be used to abuse, harass, and shame. Fortunately, several users in the YouTube community have formed the YouCoalition, which is attempting to organize a large-scale response to these issues. While promoting a Safer Community Pledge and the “Healthy YouTube” tag, this group is teaming up with other online leaders to encourage change and discussion and discourage abuse or unhealthy behaviors.
- Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson began the Pass the Peace initiative in conjunction with Domestic Violence Awareness Month to help raise awareness and funds through his Why Not You Foundation. He is asking his friends and fans to #WNYPassthePeace and donate $2 to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which has resulted in some famous faces responding to the challenge, including Kevin Durant, Mark Wahlberg, Bob Saget, and Derek Jeter. Fans are responding positively as well, joining with families and even pets to help promote the campaign. We were especially impressed by the students from Wahluke Junior High in Washington, who raised $1,000 and got the whole school to Pass the Peace. Want to join the challenge? Text WNYPASSTHEPEACE to 41444 or make a donation online, then challenge two friends to do the same!
Fans of Modern Family are probably familiar with actress Sarah Hyland, who plays oldest daughter Haley Dunphy on the television show. In September, Ms. Hyland filed a restraining order against her long-time partner after claiming he choked and verbally abused her. Now there are reports that she is doing well after leaving the relationship, and she is currently an advocate for pet adoption with the ASPCA.
Ms. Hyland’s experience mirrors much of what we hear about and discuss at loveisrespect:
- She was in a long-term relationship, which from the outside may have appeared healthy and normal but was not what it seemed. Often abuse is hidden, as the abusive partner is extremely adept at gaining power and control over the victim and threatening them into silence. It can help for parents, teachers, and friends to recognize the signs that a young person may be in an abusive relationship.
- When Ms. Hyland decided to leave the relationship, she called on friend and castmate Julie Bowen for support. Support systems are so important for victims and survivors as a source of validation and to help them stay safe.
- We are big fans of self-care, and we often encourage those who contact us to focus on their own passions and interests, particularly in the wake of an abusive relationship or difficult breakup. Activities like joining a cause and helping others, including our animal friends, can be very therapeutic.
We are so glad Ms. Hyland was able to escape her abusive relationship, and we wish her the best on her journey to peace and safety!
While it’s difficult (if not impossible) to maintain complete privacy while having an online presence and engaging in social media, tools are available to help you manage what information is out there. If you or your teen is interested in regaining some privacy, check out justdelete.me. This is a growing directory of direct links on various sites, apps, and social media platforms to help you remove your online information. The site also ranks each outlet’s level of difficulty in removing information from Easy to Impossible.
If you have questions about healthy vs. unhealthy dating behaviors, or if you know a teen who might be in an abusive relationship, we are here to help! Call us at 1-866-331-9474, chat online at loveisrespect.org, or text “loveis” to 22522.