Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is an opportunity to speak to the young people in our lives about healthy relationships and the dangers of technology-facilitated abuse. It is a time to show those who have been impacted by teen dating violence that they are not alone. Whether you share the NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline number, help navigate Sam and Alex through their new relationship in “Spot the Flags with Sam and Alex”, or wear orange on February 6 for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Day, this page is designed to help you be an ally this February and all year long!
This Month’s Highlights
Here are the highlights for this month’s activities:
- All Month: Check out our social media accounts to see our new “Green Flags” campaign
- February 6: New York State Assets lit up in orange
- February 8: OPDV and Don McPherson join Erie County for their annual Teen Relationship Violence Summit
- February 28: OPDV and Don McPherson partner with John Jay College of Criminal Justice to host our second Modernizing Masculinity panel
TDVAM: Healthy Relationship Quiz
OPDV launches a Healthy Relationship Quiz that allows individuals to learn how to spot and navigate Red and Green Flags in an intimate relationship. OPDV’s Healthy Relationship quiz allows participants to choose responses to multiple scenarios to learn about healthy (Green Flags) and unhealthy (Red Flags) choices in intimate relationships. Individuals who take this quiz will receive a “healthy relationship” score at the end as well as important information about why responses are Red or Green Flags.
TDVAM 2024: Engaging Men & Boys
Active participation of men and boys is crucial in the effort to eliminate gender-based violence. Historically, men and boys have not always been prominent in this effort, but by engaging with them around this topic, men and boys can fulfill a crucial role in ending gender-based violence.
In April 2023, in partnership with Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, OPDV launched the Start the Conversation: Engaging Men and Boys campaign. As a part of our year-long campaign, Start the Conversation: Engaging Men & Boys, this Pledge encourages men and boys to become better allies, recognize that many of the behaviors that contribute to gender-based violence are associated with negative masculine stereotypes, and speak up against gender-based violence in their lives. Read more about the Pledge and campaign here. We are encouraging New Yorkers to take this Pledge and to share it with the men and boys in their life: Take the Pledge!
This toolkit provides definitions, conversation starts, and resources to “Start the Conversation” with the men and boys in your life.
TDVAM 2024: Teen Dating Abuse Awareness and Prevention
It can be hard to have the tough conversations with those you care about, but when you have the right tools, you can make a difference. Visit New York State’s Teen Dating Abuse Awareness and Prevention website to learn more about what dating violence looks like and how to find resources!
February 6 is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Day! To show support for survivors and help spread the message, wear orange, hang orange lights, and let others know why orange is so important on this day! On February 1 and February 6, keep an eye on the night sky as NYS landmarks are illuminated in orange.
Post on Social Media
Follow @NYSOPDV on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and engage with posts by sharing, liking, and commenting using the hashtags #NotJustPhysical, #StartTheConversation and #TDVAM2024. You can also post the social media graphics below and show the people who follow you that you’re an ally to survivors. When posting, always include information for the NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline which can be reached 24/7 in most languages: Call 800.942.6909, Text 844.997.2121, or chat at opdv.ny.gov.
Buy an “End Domestic Violence” License Plate
You can show survivors you’re an ally by having the message on your car all year long! Created in partnership with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, the new design reflects the strength and resilience of survivors, and the commitment New York State makes to support them. Revenue from the plates will support NYS efforts to end gender-based violence through programming and public awareness.
License plates can be purchased at your local DMV office, on the web, and by mail through the DMV Custom Plates Unit. You can call the unit at 518.402.4838, Monday through Thursday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., or visit online at: https://dmv.ny.gov/plates/end-domestic-violence.
Know the Resources
Did you know that every county in New York State has a domestic violence program? They provide resources for teens as well!
Talk to an advocate today to learn more about what’s available, and make sure to share this information with the survivors in your life.
Be an Ally all Year Long
Many people who experience teen dating and gender-based violence don’t know who to turn to. Your willingness to help can be important to a victim in their safety planning efforts. Be ready to offer the kind of help that’s needed, while keeping yourself safe at the same time.
- Initiate a conversation in private and when you have enough time to talk at length, but if they want to.
- Let go of any expectations you have that there is a “quick fix”. Not doing anything may very well be the safest thing they can do at any given time.
- Challenge false attitudes and beliefs that you may have about domestic and gender-based violence.
- Believe victims and let them know that you do. If you know the person who has or is abusing them, it may be hard to believe they are capable of abuse but remember that abusers typically act differently in public than they do in private.
- Listen to what they tell you. Avoid judgments and giving advice. They will let you know what they need.
- Refer them to a service provider who can provide necessary medical attention, counseling or emotional support, safety planning, housing and discuss their options.
- Build on their strengths. Point out the ways in which they have developed ways to cope, solved problems, and showed courage and determination.
- Validate feelings. It is common for victims to have conflicting feelings- love and fear, guilt and anger, hope and sadness. Let them know these feelings are normal.
- Avoid victim-blaming. Tell the victim the abuse is not their fault.
- Take it seriously. If you are concerned about their safety, tell them you are concerned without judgment by simply saying, “Your situation sounds dangerous, and I’m concerned about your safety.”
- Offer help. Offer specific forms of help and information, such as providing childcare, driving them to appointments, or assisting with pets.
- Give them control. Abuse and assault take control away from victims. Support their decisions about who to tell, what steps to take, and what types of support they need. Additionally, asking before offering physical support such as hugs and being upfront about what support you can and cannot provide allows them to take control of their safety and next steps.
- Support and respect their decisions. Remember that there are risks with every decision a victim makes and there is no one way an individual must react to abuse or assault. If you really want to be helpful, be patient and respect their decisions, even if you don’t agree with them.