One in 4 adolescents reports verbal, emotional, physical or sexual dating violence each year. (CDC 2011)Chances are, there’s someone in one of your classes that is in an abusive relationship. You can help them as February, Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month (TDVAPM), rolls in
Celebrating the month in your school is a great way to spread awareness about dating violence and help that someone in need. Here are some ideas to get started:
Make periodic school announcements. By taking advantage of a school PA system, you can reach a large audience in an easy way. Researching facts about teen dating violence and delivering those facts to your peers via intercom is a simple way of getting them thinking about teen dating violence.
Advertise in the building. Ask for permission to hang posters in busy or crowded areas around the school. You can make your own or download posters and flyers here. Feel free to give out our phone number, 1-866-331-9474, for 24 hours a day assistance and support. The same goes if they text “loveis” to 22522. Posting these numbers around the school may give a classmate the resource they need.
Use technology. Make a PowerPoint presentation with statistics, stories and resources and get it posted on your school’s website. Create a public service announcement about teen dating violence so students have a visual representation of the message that is accessible at any time. There are plenty of PSAs already on youtube for some ideas.
Ask teachers to discuss dating abuse in class. Give teachers the materials to inform your peers about teen dating violence. The official TDVAPM website containseducation resources. If teachers presented the information in class, it would be a step towards raising awareness. Teachers can have profound effects on the lives of their students. By encouraging students to seek help for themselves or for friends or by giving them the tools to be a role model, teachers can aid in the fight against teen dating violence.
Use public events to raise awareness. Schools always have sports events, performances and other programs happening. Using these events to appear in front of a crowd with a message can be an effective way to raise awareness in your school. Getting permission to give a quick message at the halftime of a sports game or the intermission of a play is an opportunity to let people know about teen dating abuse. If possible, organizing an event during February specifically for Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month can be a fun, informative event to spark interest. This event could include games, performances, speakers, art shows and anything in between.
Get your local community leaders involved. This can be as easy as sending a letter or making a phone call. Politicians have heavy influence on everyday life, whether that be by signing legislation or making public statements. By gaining the support of your local politicians, you can attract more attention to your cause. Call your local city hall or school board and ask to speak at the next meeting on behalf of your school. Show the community what your school has done to spread the message.
Raising awareness in your school begins with your efforts. There are many sources to help start the fight against dating violence. Every peer in your school deserves the right to be in a healthy relationship, and you never know who you could help this February.