Summer is coming to a close and school is almost back in session. As football season, a new batch of classes and your school year sleep schedule gear up this fall, you have the opportunity to educate your school about dating violence.
Consider the activities you’re in at school, and how you might use those to help spread the word. Are you on the Student Council? Suggest placing hand-outs about dating abuse around your school. Are you on your school’s yearbook or newspaper staff? You might be able to place an article about dating violence or healthy dating in an upcoming edition of your publication.
Zelda Mayer, one of our volunteers for loveisrespect shared her experience of working at the Helpline in her high school’s news publication, The Featherduster. Here’s an excerpt from her article below:
It was cold and damp, and I had failed. I fastened my seat belt, watching the windshield wipers swipe back and forth. Twenty four hours of training and twice that many volunteering, but at that moment I felt powerless.
I couldn’t get this girl out of my head. I tried to help her, but I wondered if I had done enough. She said she loved her boyfriend and could never bear to be without him. All she wanted was for him to stop hurting her.
I explained to her what dating abuse looks like, and we discussed her options. But I couldn’t tell her what she hoped to hear. She wanted me to tell her that it was just a phase, that soon he would stop, that it wasn’t abuse. She told me that she felt suicidal.
“This isn’t helping,” she said a few minutes later, and disconnected.
It was out of my control, and although I did my best to help her, I wished I could have done more. It was the hardest chat I had ever received.
Every Saturday, I volunteer for two hours as a peer advocate at Love is Respect, a national dating abuse helpline based in Austin. I take online chats from people who have been affected by unhealthy relationships, and my job is to listen to and guide the people who contact us, providingresources and support.
At first, my volunteering position just served as another item on my college resume. I knew that dating abuse was an important issue, and Love is Respect sounded like an interesting opportunity. Other than that, I was primarily concerned with myself and my future. I didn’t understand what it really meant to volunteer or to help people.
Look here to read the entire article. What are ways you could help educate your school? Any plans for this upcoming year?