In conjunction with the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Project, our Youth Outreach Director is available for educational presentations on teen relationship issues in 14 schools throughout the Santa Clarita Valley. Workshops geared towards high school and middle school students are offered on a variety of topics, including jealousy, communication, power and control, sexual harassment, and of course, all types of abuse. For more information about the SCV Youth Project visit them on https://www.facebook.com/SantaClaritaValleyYouthProject.
We are also working with another group called “We Will Not Be Silenced” through our TEaCH (Teens Educating and Changing Hate) Program. We Will Not Be Silenced is a photo campaign created by a high school junior to combat the way women are silenced every day. This silence ranges from the idea of looking pretty, but not having valid opinions to the way women tear each other down instead of building each other up thus creating a culture of hate. The goal for this campaign is to end this cycle of oppression by bringing awareness to the fact that the silence is real and hurts everyone. You can visit their blog http://projectwewillnotbesilenced.blogspot.com/ or find them on social media:
Training is also available for teachers, service providers, parent groups, and anyone who is concerned with the problem of teen abusive relationships. For more information or to schedule presentations, or workshops, call DVC at (661) 259-8175.
A Window Between Worlds Program
To assist teens who have experienced trauma from a domestic violence situation, our center offers A Window Between Worlds art expression classes. Our certified staff works with teens to help them gain a sense of renewal and power. Their images of hope, survival and strength educate the public and and become “a window between worlds” for survivors taking steps to change their lives. Our Windows Between Worlds teen workshops are offered in partnership with the Action Zone http://actionfamilycounseling.com. For a listing of classes offered click HERE
What is Abuse?
When it comes to abuse, most people only think of physical abuse, such as hitting, kicking, punching, pushing, biting, pulling hair or slapping. Abuse can also be:
- Verbal, such as name calling, put downs, threats
- Emotional, such as controlling, manipulating, intimidating
- Sexual, such as forcing sex or using manipulation, intimidation or threats to coerce someone into sexual behavior.
Parents, you can download this Parent Guide to Teen Dating Violence to help you talk to your teens about healthy relationships and get the conversation started. Click HERE to download the guide.
Skills for Fostering a Healthy Relationship
What is a healthy relationship? Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you each respect the other’s opinions, even when they are different?
- Do each of you share equally in making decisions about how your time together will be spent? What about other important issues?
- Do you each encourage each other to have friends and interests outside the relationship?
- Are both of you willing to talk openly and honestly about problems in the relationship, and willing to work together to resolve conflicts?
- Are each of you willing to accept responsibility for your behaviors when something hurtful is said or done?
- Do each of you respect the limits and bounderies set by the other?
Key aspects of a healthy relationship are:
Healthy relationships are a partnership between two people, and most importantly, there is no fear of violence.
What are the Characteristics of an Abusive Relationship?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I frightened by my partner’s temper?
- Does your partner call you names, put you down, or make you feel bad about yourself?
- Do you feel that your partner tries to take control by telling you where you can and can’t go, who you can talk and can’t talk to, what you can and can’t wear, etc.?
- Has your partner grabbed, slapped, pushed, hit, kicked or thrown objects at you?
- Has your partner ever threatened you?
- Does your partner blame you after hurting you?
- Does your partner deny or minimize abuse by saying “you’re too sensitive,” or acting like nothing ever happened?
- Does your partner make promises to change, yet continue to hurt you?
Dating violence can negatively impact a teen’s emotional and social development. In some cases, dating violence can lead to depression, health problems, academic problems, even suicide attempts.
Teen violence can affect teens of any age, gender, sexual orientation, or socio economic situation. Studies show that in a conflict with a partner, girls report using physical aggression as much or more than boys. However, statistically, injury or homicide for those aged 12 and up, females are more likely to be injured or murdered by a current or former intimate partner that males. Unfortunately, due to the obstacles of leaving an abusive relationship, nearly 80% of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationship continue to date their abuser.
Because adolescents are still developing, and dating is new for them, they do not have the experience or tools necessary to be able to make informed choices. Being in an abusive relationship at such an impresionable, and vulnerable age, might lead a teen to believe that violence is part of a “normal” relationship.
What Should you do if you Find Yourself in an Abusive Relationship?
- Take action quickly and get out of the relationship. Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
- Talk to someone about it.
- If you aren’t ready to break up, make a safety plan. A DVC Advocate can help you with that.
- If you need shelter or someone to talk to, call our 24-hour crisis line at (661) 259-HELP.
- Call our Youth Outreach Director. Our services can assist with restraining orders, safety planning, education, support and other needs you may have.
If you have a friend who is being abused:
- Believe the person. Tell them it is not his/her fault, and nobody deserves to be abused (no matter what their partner tells them)
- Don’t try to force the person to break up. When the person is ready, he/she will leave.
- Offer your support, and refer your friend to DVC for help.
- Educate yourself about abuse.