August 2015

Hello! Thanks for reading the August edition of RespecText.

We’ve really enjoyed sharing the latest in dating abuse/healthy relationship resources as part of our Love is Digital campaign. This will be our last RespecText newsletter, and we want to sincerely thank you for subscribing! If you’d like to review any of our past newsletters, be sure to check out the RespecText archive. Of course, loveisrespect.org isn’t going anywhere, and our advocates are always here to answer questions and provide support to teens, parents and anyone who is affected by dating abuse. Just call 1-866-331-9474, chat at loveisrespect.org or text loveis to 22522.

Tools for Teens

News Bits

Advocate’s Corner

  • This season of Teen Mom 2 on MTV has been full of examples of unhealthy and abusive relationship behaviors, resulting in loveisrespect.org being aired during certain episodes as a resource for viewers in similar situations. Shows like Teen Mom 2 can offer great opportunities to talk with teens and young adults about why the situations were abusive. This season we’ve seen verbal abuse such as name calling and yelling, as well as the physical abuse of Jenelle by her boyfriend Nathan (resulting in his arrest). Our website can be helpful in addressing these issues with young adults and teens; check out How to “Fight” Fair, healthy Conflict Resolution,  Calling the Police and Restraining Orders.
  • Lately many news outlets have focused on rap artist Dr. Dre and his history of violence against women, following the theatrical release of the biopic Straight Outta Compton and Dre’s new album, Compton. Dr. Dre has apologized for his past behavior, citing his youth and a drinking problem (which he notes are not excuses for violent behavior). What’s troubling for many people is the lack of acknowledgment of his violent past, particularly in the film, by media and critics. Of course, at loveisrespect, we believe that there is never an excuse for any kind of abuse, and that being abusive is a choice a person makes. While it’s possible for people who are abusive to change, accountability has to be a part of that change. This is another opportunity to start a conversation with young people about the dynamics of abuse, the disbelief (or blame) that victims often experience from others, and holding people accountable for their actions.

Powerful Resources

Self-care is so important – we talk about it a lot at loveisrespect! One of our favorite sites to recommend for self-care is Calm.com, where people of all ages can discover the power of meditation. They offer apps for Android and iPhone, too!

July 2015

It’s hard to believe it’s almost back-to-school season! Now is a good time to relax and rejuvenate before the start of a new school year, and think of ways to start the conversation about healthy relationships with the teens in your life. Need some help? Loveisrespect is here for you 24/7!

Tools for Teens

News Bits

  • Our National Youth Advisory Board recently launched the SPF15 (Safe Partners & Friends 2015) campaign! Each week for the rest of the summer, loveisrespect and NYAB board members will be sharing tips and information related to healthy relationships, dating and self-esteem across social media. Follow the hashtag #NYABSPF15 to join in, and be sure to follow loveisrespect on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline recently celebrated the grand opening of a new digital services office in Washington, DC! Read more about it on The Hotline’s blog.

Advocate’s Corner

This month Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and loveisrespect, met with students and administrators in the DC area to discuss campus dating violence and sexual assault. The roundtable discussion drew students from multiple universities, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, American University, Catholic University of America, Howard University, University of District Columbia, and University of Maryland – College Park. Lynn Rosenthal, former White House advisor on violence against women and current vice president of strategic partnerships at The Hotline, opened the event with a call to action to the students in the room to engage more deeply with the issues of dating violence and sexual assault. During the discussion, students raised a variety of concerns, such as changing campus cultures and providing access to adequate resources for victims. Read a full recap and see pictures from the event on our blog!

Powerful Resources

Scarleteen has been providing positive, inclusive and honest sex-ed for teens and young adults since 1998. The organization recently launched Scarleteen Confidential to provide information and insight to parents and guardians, based on years of working directly with young people. Their goal is to “support parents and their children in creating and sustaining healthy, kind, mutually respectful and thoughtful relationships with each other, including when it comes to sex and sexuality, an area where even parents who are otherwise amazing and comfortable can feel twitchy, insecure and lost.”

 

Loveisrespect advocates are available 24/7 by phone at 1-866-331-9474, chat at loveisrespect.org or by texting loveis to 22522. We also host a TA chat for parents and educators on the first Wednesday of every month from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Central. Just head to this page and click on the TA Chat button in the sidebar when active!

June 2015

We hope everyone’s had a great start to their summer! Thanks for checking out the June edition of RespecText. Read on for links, news and resources to help you help the teens in your life.

Do you have a friend or colleague who would find RespecText useful? Pass it on and let them know they can subscribe by texting updateme to 22522!

Tools for Teens

News Bits

  • Campus sexual assault continues to be a widespread issue in our country, and fortunately more and more people are paying more attention. There have been many conversations about how to reduce assault, and this program conducted among first-year female students at three Canadian campuses was reportedly successful. As the article states, programs like this won’t solve the problem, but they’re an important piece. We don’t disagree, but we do recognize that reducing or ending violence of any kind requires a multifaceted approach.
  • The practice known as “revenge porn”, or more accurately nonconsensual pornography – which is defined as the distribution of sexually graphic images of individuals without their consent – is a serious issue with devastating repercussions for victims. Fortunately, some web-based companies are stepping up their efforts to help protect victims. Google recently announced that they will honor requests to remove revenge porn images from Google Search results. They join other tech giants like Twitter, Facebook and Reddit which have implemented policies for or bans of revenge porn.

Advocate’s Corner

It’s officially summer! School’s out and hopefully everyone gets to relax (at least a little…). But lots of teens struggle with how to maintain a relationship without the daily structure of school, and they might be separated from their main support system during the summer break. We’ve got some info on our blog that might help you help your teen navigate a summer fling and stay healthy and safe:

Powerful Resources

Since we mentioned revenge porn above, we want to point you in the direction of another great resource. End Revenge Porn, which is run by the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), is a “one-stop shop for everyone that is involved in the war against revenge porn.” They offer support for victims, advocate for laws and educate the public about revenge porn. They also offer a crisis hotline at 1-844-878-2274.

If you have questions about dating abuse or healthy relationships, our loveisrespect advocates are here 24/7! Call 1-866-331-9474, chat at loveisrespect.org, or text loveis to 22522. 

May 2015

Thanks for checking out our May RespecText newsletter!

Know a friend or colleague who would find these tips and resources useful? Please pass it along and let them know they can subscribe by texting updateme to 22522!

Tools for Teens

News Bits

  • Last month the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, National Council of Women’s Organizations and The National Organization for Women held a congressional briefing on cyberstalking and online threats. These are serious issues in our digital age. One in five internet users experience severe forms of online abuse, and young female internet users (age 18-24) experience the most severe online violence. Cyberstalking and online threats have not been taken seriously in the past, as most law enforcement groups do not have the training or tools to combat these crimes. Now, with more high-profile cases like Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian, we hope that perceptions are shifting and this type of abuse will be treated as a serious crime.
  • NPR recently did a story about “empowerment based” sex-ed, which includes discussion about relationships, gender and power dynamics. We’re on board with this idea!
  • The domestic violence charges against former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice were recently dismissed by a judge after Rice completed a pretrial intervention program. Read the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s official statement.

Advocate’s Corner

Last month was Sexual Assault Awareness Month, but that doesn’t mean we stop talking about it now that April’s over! We understand that it can be really tough to talk to kids about sexual assault. How do you approach it? What do you say? We know that education goes a long way toward prevention, especially in light of the fact that the majority of sexual assault victims are assaulted by people they know. Nancy C. Lee from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services addresses this topic in a recent Huffington Post article and offers links to useful resources (see below!) that can help you get the conversation started with young people.

Talking with Teens: Conversation Tools

Resources list from Girlshealth.gov

Powerful Resources

Parents, are you looking for more resources to help you start important conversations about health and relationships? Check out Talk with Your Kids, a project of the California Family Health Council!

Don’t forget: if you have questions or need more resources, loveisrespect hosts a TA chat the first Wednesday of every month from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Central. Head to this page, scroll down and click on the TA Chat button in the sidebar when activated to join!

April 2015

Thanks for checking out the April issue of RespecText! Looking for more info or resources to download? Head over to our Love is Digital page.

Tools for Teens

News Bits

  • You might have noticed that this month’s RespecText looks a little different. Well, we thought it was time for some spring cleaning, and now loveisrespect.org has a new design! You’ll find the same great info in a cleaner, easier-to-use, responsive format. Watch the short demo video for an overview of what’s changed, and let us know what you think of the site.
  • Not long after naming us one of 2014’s top Teen Dating Blogs, DatingAdvice.com put together a great feature about loveisrespect. Check it out!
  • WNBA stars Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson were recently arrested on suspicion of assault and disorderly conduct owing to an alleged domestic violence incident. This incident sheds more light on the fact that domestic violence can occur in any relationship, but abuse in LGBTQ relationships is severely underreported.

Advocate’s Corner

April has been Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), and it’s a good reminder to have conversations about healthy consent and sexual coercion. Consent is always mandatory in any relationship, but it doesn’t need to be awkward and scary! As an organization that promotes healthy relationships to young people, we believe consent can be positive and fun. Instead of focusing solely on “no means no,” we believe in expanding consent to include an enthusiastic “yes means yes!” While “no” should always be honored in a relationship, communicating openly about what each partner does want helps foster a sense of equality and respect. No one should ever be pressured, guilted or forced into doing anything they’re not comfortable with, which is why setting boundaries and respecting them is so important. Use SAAM as an opportunity to discuss these topics with the young people in your life, or encourage them to call, chat or text with a loveisrespect peer advocate if they have questions!

Powerful Resources

The Crisis Text Line offers free, 24/7 support for those in crisis (note: this is not a substitute for 9-1-1 or emergency services). Their trained crisis counselors practice active listening to help people move from a hot moment to a cool calm, guiding them to create a plan to stay safe and healthy. This can be a great resource for anyone who is experiencing a crisis moment and needs a listening ear, support and help focusing on next steps. Just text “START” to 741-741 to connect to the Crisis Text Line.

Got questions about dating abuse or healthy relationships? Our advocates are here 24/7! Call, chat or text any time. Don’t forget, we also host a TA chat for parents and educators on the first Wednesday of every month from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Central. Our next chat will be Wednesday, May 6th. Go to this page to join in!

March 2015

Thanks for checking out the March issue of RespecText!

Tools for Teens

News Bits

  • We were so excited last month when our partner, Mary Kay, confirmed actress/singer Debby Ryan as their newest cause champion! Known for her starring role as TV’s “Jessie,” Ms. Ryan will travel the country to help educate teens and young adults on healthy relationships and how to recognize the signs of dating abuse. She will serve as the spokesperson for Mary Kay’s Don’t Look Away campaign to help prevent and end dating abuse.
  • Don’t forget that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Learn more about ways to get involved!

Advocate’s Corner

Cyberbullying and digital abuse can affect anyone with an online presence. Just recently, actress Ashley Judd made headlines when one of her tweets elicited some pretty vulgar and threatening responses. A similar thing happened to former pro-baseball player Curt Schilling when he tweeted about his teenage daughter being accepted to college. You can read more about that situation on his blog (warning: he references some tweets with graphic language).

As Schilling notes in his blog post, it’s all too easy to hide behind a computer screen and believe you won’t face real-life consequences for your actions. However, he was able to track down a few of the worst offenders, who were fired or suspended for their actions. Judd has filed police reports and is considering taking legal action against the perpetrators of the abusive tweets aimed at her. On a related note, earlier this year on an episode of This American Life, writer Lindy West had a rather enlightening phone conversation with someone who trolled her online.

Many people question whether or not to take these online threats seriously, but we know that digital abuse can affect victims emotionally and psychologically. In light of all this, it’s more important than ever to talk to young people about using the internet safely and respectfully. Point out the real people who are affected by digital abuse, and how everyone has the power to stop, think and choose not to be abusive, online or off.

Related Resources:
Twitter does have a forum for reporting abuse and threats, but they direct users to contact their local law enforcement if they feel they are in danger.

Powerful Resources

Learn more about issues facing teens and tweens from Futures Without Violence.

If you or a teen you know has questions about dating abuse, loveisrespect advocates are available to help 24/7. Chat at loveisrespect.org, text loveis to 22522, or call 1-866-331-9474. 

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February 2015

The February edition of RespecText is full of information and updates about Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (Teen DV Month)!

Tools for Teens

In honor of Teen DV Month, we hope you’ll encourage teens to explore loveisrespect.org and take our quizzes:

News Bits

Throughout Teen DV Month, loveisrespect has been discussing different topics related to dating abuse and relationships. Each week we’ve focused on a theme and linked to related content on our website. On Feb. 12 we hosted a Twitter chat about relationship rights with our friends Break the Cycle and Casa de Esperanza – read the highlights on Storify! We’ve also been posing questions to our social networks using the #LIRasks hashtag. It’s been a busy month! Check out the links below:

Advocate’s Corner

From Kirsten Sorensen, Digital Services Manager at loveisrespect

All of us at loveisrespect would like to commend the students in Alpine, TX who used Teen DV Month as an opportunity to bring the conversation about dating abuse home to their community. The message was loud and clear: “Not only is dating abuse a problem, it is a problem that is happening here in our town, and it is up to us to stop it.”

Student leaders from Alpine High School and Sul Ross State University worked in partnership to make Respect Week 2015 a memorable one by promoting conversations in their respective schools. There were class presentations, a movie night and a big Orange-Out celebration where students could have their faces painted while creating posters proclaiming what love and respect mean to them. All of these activities were entirely organized and led by the students! The conversation caught on as local businesses such as Plaine Coffee agreed to hand out customized sleeves with their coffee, inviting their patrons to join the conversation at #SRSURespectWeek.

The week culminated with the Let’s Talk! Panel Event, a panel discussion at Sul Ross State University that consisted of students, survivors, professors and local experts – and loveisrespect was there, too! The hour-and-a-half-long event was a profound ending to a week full of dialogue as student audience members engaged the panel with their stories and questions. The discussion was primarily carried by the audience, who not only weighed in on what dating violence looks like and means for their generation, but challenged each other’s assumptions and connected by telling stories about their shared experiences. We at loveisrespect were thrilled to be part of this conversation, and we’re thankful to Alpine students for setting a national example with their dedication and involvement.

abigail, ryan, megan, courtney love is  drink sleeves at Plaine Coffee

Powerful Resources

Trans Lifeline is a non-profit dedicated to the well-being of transgender people. Their free hotline is staffed by transgender people, for transgender people. The hotline is primarily for transgender people experiencing a crisis, which includes people who may be struggling with their gender identity and/or are not sure that they are transgender. This is an especially wonderful resource in light of the recent tragic suicides of young transgender people, including Leelah Alcorn.

Need additional resources? Our Technical Assistance chat for parents and teachers occurs the first Wednesday of every month from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Central. Go to this page and click on the chat button next to “Are you a teacher or parent?” when activated. 

January 2015

Happy 2015, and welcome to the first RespecText of the year!

We’re so glad to have your support. If you know a friend, family member or colleague who would find RespecText useful, please share the subscription info: just text “updateme” to 22522!

Tools for Teens

News Bits

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month! Follow loveisrespect on Twitter and Facebook for Teen DV Month updates, and be sure to check out our blog throughout the month. Teens can download our toolkit for Respect Week (Feb. 9-13) for cool ideas on how to raise awareness in their schools and communities.

Advocate’s Corner

A recent study by researchers at the University of North Dakota claims that one in three heterosexual college men admit they might rape a woman (in other words, force a woman to have sex) if no one found out and they wouldn’t face any consequences. The researchers acknowledge that this study was very preliminary and based on a small sample, but it highlights some interesting perspectives that perpetuate rape culture and sexual assault. When researchers actually used the word “rape” in their questions, the number of men who said they would force a woman to have sex dropped. This suggests that some college men don’t associate the act of forcing a woman to have sex with the crime of committing rape. The study also measured the respondents’ attitudes about women, which tended to affect the men’s answers. You can read the full study here.

At loveisrespect, we believe educating young people of all genders about healthy dating and sexual behaviors is incredibly important. Having conversations about consent, understanding sexual coercion, and emphasizing the fact that no one has the “right” to anyone else’s body or affections can help prevent unhealthy attitudes from forming and, hopefully, reduce the number of sexual assaults occurring on campuses and elsewhere.

Powerful Resources

As we get ready for Teen DV Month in February, check out the National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women’s Special Collection on Preventing and Responding to Teen Dating Violence.

Remember, loveisrespect advocates are available 24/7/365! Call us at 1-866-331-9474, chat online at www.loveisrespect.org, or text loveis to 22522.

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December 2014

Welcome to the final RespecText of 2014!

We appreciate your continued support and hope you’ll share RespecText with colleagues, friends and family.

Happy holidays, and here’s to more healthy relationships in the new year!

Tools for Teens

News Bits

  • In early December the loveisrespect team attended a Healthy Relationships Rally at Creekview High School in Carrollton, TX. Friends from Mary Kay and Verizon, as well as Texas Senator Jane Nelson, joined us to talk to students about healthy relationships and digital abuse.
  • Loveisrespect recently participated in the #JustAsk Twitter chat hosted by MTV’s It’s Your Sex Life. Other guests included YouTube star and sex-positive activist Laci Green and Bedsider.org. We chatted about healthy relationships and answered questions from participants about dating. Check out Storify for highlights from the chat!

Advocate’s Corner

Yik Yak is a popular app among teens that allows users to post messages anonymously, much like Secret and Whisper. The difference between Yik Yak and other apps is that it limits anonymous postings to a small, local radius, which makes it attractive to high school and college students. It’s been at the center of controversy lately after being linked to bullying and used as a forum for sexually explicit messages.

In a recent interview, the app’s founders claim that they are now creating geo-fences around middle and high schools that block those students from accessing the app (while at school, anyway), and instead they are targeting college campuses. They also claim that they are taking steps to reduce and remove posts that are offensive, threatening, bullying, and abusive.

It’s important to be aware of the apps and sites that teens are frequently using, and we always encourage having open conversations about online safety and respectful online behavior. Read more about social networking safety, and talk to the teens in your life about their experiences both online and off!

Powerful Resources

The NW Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse “works to end violence and abuse by building loving and equitable relationships in our community and across the country.” Their guide “It Takes a Village, People!” (PDF) offers information and guidance for advocates, friends and family members on responding and providing support to LGBT survivors.

 

Remember, loveisrespect advocates are available 24/7/365!  Call us at 1-866-331-9474, chat online at www.loveisrespect.org, or text loveis to 22522.

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November 2014

Hello! Thank you for checking out the November issue of RespecText.

Do you know a parent, teacher, or school counselor who would love to have RespecText delivered to their smartphone each month? Help us spread the word and let them know they can text “updateme” to 22522 to subscribe.

All of us at loveisrespect wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tools for Teens

News Bits

  • On October 28th, we participated in the #FVPSAyouth Twitter Town Hall hosted by VAWnet. To celebrate Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the 30th anniversary of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), this discussion centered around the importance of young voices in the movement to end domestic and dating violence and available resources for youth leaders. Check out the Town Hall on Storify, or watch this video to learn more about FVPSA.
  • Eminem is no stranger to controversy, but he crossed a line when he recently rapped that he’ll “punch Lana Del Rey in the face twice like Ray Rice.” Some may brush this off as harmless, but we know that words can cause plenty of damage. Not only do many people experience verbal abuse in their relationships, but the use of violence and abusive lyrics in popular music perpetuates a culture that accepts violence and abuse. Talk to your teen about the music they listen to regularly. What are the lyrics really saying? How does your teen feel about these messages?

Advocate’s Corner

We wanted to share this great video created by the teens at Community Healthcare Network’s Teens P.A.C.T. program in New York City. This is just one in a series of public service announcements collectively titled More Than Just Sex. More Than Just Sex aims to empower young people to make positive decisions, create social change, and reduce the rates of teen pregnancy, STD’s, and HIV in New York City and beyond.

We like the video because it shows how abuse can take many forms and often escalates within an abusive relationship. It’s so important to recognize the warning signs and emphasize to teens what love looks like: it is not controlling, it is not fearful, it is not jealous. Share this video with a teen in your life!

Powerful Resources

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) teamed up with Facebook to create Safety & Privacy on Facebook: A Guide for Survivors of Abuse. They have released this guide in several languages, and you can download it for free from NNEDV’s website.