Artistic rendering of comic book characters Harley Quinn and the Joker, separated by a jagged white line on a background of comic book spines

Relationship Goals or Relationship No’s?

By Anitra, youth organizer

Last weekend I saw the movie Suicide Squad. I had heard a lot about the “love story” between Harley Quinn and the Joker, and I wanted to see for myself if it lived up to the hype. Some people on social media have been calling their relationship “goals.” But it didn’t take long for me to realize that what was happening between Harley and the Joker is no love story.

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We Support All Survivors

By Tatsumi Romano, loveisrespect National Youth Advisory Board member 

[Trigger Warning: rape and sexual assault]

By now you’ve probably heard that Brock Turner, a former Stanford athlete, was found guilty for three counts of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on campus on the night of January 17, 2015. Two students passing by tried to help the victim and had to tackle Turner to the ground as he attempted to run away from the scene. Despite the traumatizing assault of a woman who could do nothing to defend herself, Turner received a shockingly light sentence of six months in county jail, with the possibility of release after three months based on good behavior.

How’d they do it? How did Turner’s defense team manage to score such a light sentence for their Ivy League client?

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Abuse: What’s Society Got to Do With It?

This post was written by Mikaela, a loveisrespect advocate

Dating abuse is often mislabeled as a “relationship problem,” but we know that it’s actually a problem with one individual’s behaviors. Abuse happens when one person tries to gain and maintain power and control over their partner. While every abusive person is 100% responsible for their own behavior and choices, the beliefs that lead to abuse are, in many ways, rooted in our culture. Today we want to talk about some of the ways our culture reinforces and normalizes abusive behaviors so we can combat those unhealthy beliefs and stop abuse before it starts! 

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Photograph of a glass pitcher of lemonade with lemon slices and mint leaves, sitting on a wooden outdoor table and surrounded by lemons and mint leaves

Let’s Share Some LEMONADE!

Beyonce blew the internet away with her latest visual album, “Lemonade.”In this new album, Beyonce takes viewers/listeners on a roller coaster of emotions by describing her journey through trust issues, lies and infidelity in her marriage to Jay-Z. She starts by describing her intuition about her partner cheating, then she works through denial, anger and hurt, accountability, and in the end, she talks about the decision to forgive. We wanted to explore some of the feelings and behaviors that Beyonce mentions in her new songs, because even though we love Bey, we did find a few things a little concerning!

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Video Points Out the Absurdity of Victim Blaming

We love this video about sexual assault from PYPO! As they say on their website:

When reporting an incident of sexual assault, those in positions of authority are there to help. Allegedly. But too often victims are asked irrelevant questions like, “What were you wearing?” and “Were you asking for it?”

This PYPO and Rocliffe Forum sketch was meant to point out the absurdity of such questions. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a tiny dress or, well, a chicken suit. Sexual assault is always wrong and it’s on us to end it.

Check out the video on PYPO’s website. What do you think?

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Healthy Relationship Playlist: Summer 2015 Edition!

This playlist was submitted by Amanda, a loveisrespect advocate.

A few months ago we debuted our Spotify channel with a Healthy Relationship Playlist. With a new season, however, comes new songs on the radio so we thought we’d whip up another healthy playlist to get you through the summer months. Next time you’re at the beach or taking a road trip, throw this on and enjoy healthy and catchy tunes about independence, trust, and respect. Which healthy relationship songs are stuck in your head lately? Share your playlists with us in the comments!

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Consent is Important, Even If You’re Madonna

Did you hear about Madonna kissing Drake on stage at Coachella last weekend? In case you missed it, click here. At first, it wasn’t entirely clear whether or not the kiss was staged. Drake looked pretty shocked afterward, and he exclaimed, “What the **** just happened?”

As usual, the internet had mixed reactions. Some people thought it was funny. But a few people – including those of us here at loveisrespect – are seeing it from a different angle, and it’s not really funny at all.

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Healthy Relationship Playlist 3.0

Last week, we talked about how the media tends to romanticize unhealthy relationships and behaviors. We also took a close look at some unhealthy messages in popular songs by Nick Jonas, Taylor Swift and Maroon 5. But the good news is there are plenty of great songs that promote healthy behaviors, too!

We created a couple of healthy relationships playlists in the past (see here and here, or listen to them on Spotify – find us at loveisrespectofficial!), so we thought it might be time for a new one. The songs we’ve chosen are about everything from crushes to break ups to long-term relationships, but they’re all based on trust, respect, equality, and honesty. Check ‘em out, and let us know which songs you’d add to the list!

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Putting Media to the Test

This post was written by Mikaela, a loveisrespect advocate.

Here at loveisrespect, we’re all about building and nurturing healthy relationships, but unfortunately the media is not always on the same page. As much as we love ‘em, a lot of our favorite movies, songs, video games, etc. are failing miserably when it comes to depicting relationships in a realistic and healthy way. There’s a widespread misconception in media that drama = passion and possessiveness = caring, and while those ideas may look romantic on the big screen, in the real world they are anything but.

In honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, we’ve decided to dissect some media and put it to the test. The Healthy Relationship test, that is! Below are the music videos for three chart-toppers from 2014.

To test them, we’re going to focus on both the lyrics and the imagery. The lyrics are important, but they only tell us half the story. Every music video is full of unspoken messages in the ways that the characters look and behave, and sometimes those pictures are worth a thousand words.

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Everyone Deserves a Healthy Relationship

You probably know that the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, based on the very popular book series, opens today in theaters nationwide. Despite the popularity of the series, a lot of different people have criticized the books for portraying and even romanticizing unhealthy and abusive behaviors.

Some members of the media and other groups have also talked a lot about the characters participating in BDSM. We at loveisrespect just want to note that a BDSM relationship is not necessarily abusive. People in the BDSM community enter into consenting and healthy relationshipsevery day.

A healthy relationship includes open communication, mutually agreed-upon boundaries and consent from all partners. No matter how a relationship is defined, behaviors like verbal abuse, sexual violence, jealousy, possessiveness, stalking and damaging or destroying belongings are all signs of an unhealthy or abusive relationship. If you have questions about your own relationship, if you feel unsafe or if you are feeling triggered, peer advocates are here to support you 24/7, confidentially and without judgment.

At loveisrespect, we believe everyone deserves to be in a healthy and safe relationship!