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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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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Five Misconceptions About Dating Abuse

You’ve seen it on Teen Mom, watched a few Lifetime movies, you’re an expert, right? Well, here at loveisrespect, as much as we are glad the subject of dating abuse is out there, sometimes these shows aren’t giving the full story. We want you to have the full story.

Here are five common misconceptions about dating abuse:

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If You Don’t Want To, You Don’t Have To: Info About Sexual Coercion

In life, we often have to do things we don’t want to do. Homework, attending your sister’s interpretive dance recital, cleaning, mowing the grass, listening to your tone-deaf friend sing karaoke, the list goes on. One aspect of your life that you will always have complete control over, however, is how far you want to take it with your romantic partner. We’re talking your significant others, your crushes and even someone you might just be hooking up with. When it comes to anything in that arena, you absolutely have a voice and do not have to do anything you don’t want to do.

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Amber of ‘Teen Mom’ Charged With Domestic Violence

Fans of MTV’s ‘Teen Mom’ were shocked when in a September episode Amber Portwood physically assaulted her boyfriend and daughter’s father, Gary Shirley. Amber verbally abused Gary until it escalated into physical violence. Amber pushed, slapped and choked Gary as he tried to leave her apartment. The incident took place in front of the couple’s one year-old. She is now being charged with domestic violence felony charges as a result of her behavior on the show and other past incidents.

The investigation began seven weeks ago after MTV aired the video. According to an article on, Amber faces up to three years in jail and fines of up to $10,000 if convicted. What’s more, according to E! Online, the camera crew present at the filming could similarly be charged with a misdemeanor for failing to intervene.

This clip from the Today Show gives you a good understanding of the situation if you’ve missed it (*note* this did air before Amber was officially charged):

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A Test You May Actually Want to Take

It’s hard to admit it, but maybe teachers are on to something with midterm exams. Sure, many sleepless nights, empty coffee cups and gnawed pencils are often needed to pull off a good grade, but the test does serve a purpose. It gives you an idea of where you’re at in the class.

October is just shy of the time when most have midterms, but we challenge you to test yourself anyway. Since it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to check the status of your relationship. For those not in a relationship, look at the criteria below and see if you’ve experienced any of these with a past relationship or maybe even with a friend.

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Ask An Advocate: Can Guys Be Abused?

Hi. My brother is in a bad relationship. His girlfriend is always accusing him of cheating on her even though he’s not. He won’t tell me what’s happening most of the time, but I’m pretty sure she’s hit him before too. Can guys be abused too? And would you help him if he called you?

Yes, guys can experience abuse just like women. Abuse in relationships is not limited to any kind of classification, whether it be race, class, educational background, or gender. Although most resources are directed towards women that are being abused by men, the same resources can be used by men to determine if they are being abused by their partner. If a guy is being abused and does not recognize it, he can always take the relationship quiz located on the Know the Red Flags website. This quiz can help anyone to recognize some of the abusive behaviors they may be experiencing in their relationship. Also, anyone (of any gender) can always contact us by chat ( or phone (1-866-331-9474). Our advocates are trained to talk to young men and can discuss the signs, factors, and behaviors that constitute abuse in relationships. Advocates give the support and resources that men need to end the abuse occurring in their relationships.