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Voices Against Violence: Survivors Coming Forward

During Sexual Assault Awareness Month it is important, to not only spread the word of the alarming prevalence of sexual assault, but to listen to the voices of survivors as well. Many use their voices to stand up against rape culture and to empower those recovering from similar situations. We encourage survivors to use their Voices Against Violence!

Rape culture is our societal acceptance of rape as pervasive and thus normalized due to attitudes about gender and sexuality. It makes victims feel guilty about what they were wearing, where they were, and how they were acting, versus making rapists feel guilty about sexually assaulting someone. More and more voices are joining together to fight rape culture in the U.S. and around the world. It is important that both men and women feel safe anytime and anywhere!

Powerful Survivor Testimonials  - #EmbraceYourVoice

“Women are strong and capable. We don’t need the protection of men. We also don’t need their pity or their platitudes. We are not victims.” - Jenny Halasz, http://bit.ly/2u7juv7

“My assault gave me a new way of looking at my surroundings. I could be angry at my perpetrator and a lot of days I was. Slowly over time, I realized he was a part of a greater problem. He was a result of a society and a culture that created him, a society and a culture that told him that his actions were okay. Achieving justice for me meant attempting to have an impact on that culture.” - Jacqueline Reilly, http://bit.ly/2G0svYe

“What keeps me going is knowing that I’m doing this [fight for justice] on behalf of so many women out there who do not have justice. I just want to keep telling them, if we don’t keep hitting the wall, the wall won’t come down.” - Lucy, http://bit.ly/2u8B4yD

“The real healing was achieved when I started to sincerely believe I’m not responsible for what happened to me.” - Keith, http://bit.ly/2pvNUSa

Encouraging Survivors

Project Unbreakable

Project Unbreakable is a photography project aiming to give a voice to survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. Survivors can send in their own pictures holding quotes from their abusers to show others that they are not alone. - https://bit.ly/2uetAKs

IaMheR Movement

IaMheR is a project that encourages survivors to share their experiences, recovery, and hope that follows. Sinead O’Donoghue founded the movement and focuses on the power that comes from sharing stories and breaking the cycle of silence to push for change. - https://bit.ly/2Ghnq15

RAINN Survivor Stories - Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network

RAINN publishes stories of brave survivors that volunteer to share their experience and recovery to empower others. RAINN also created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline. - http://bit.ly/2ub7316

SAAM Dates to Remember:

April 8: 33rd Annual New York Crime Victims Candlelight Vigil - https://bit.ly/2pzBU1Z

April 8-14: National Crime Victims’ Rights Week - Take time to honor and thank those who have established past and current victim’s rights, while taking steps in your community to make sure everyone has access to victims’ resources when needed. - https://bit.ly/2nwLtiM

April 14: NYC Teen Dating Violence Awareness 7th Annual Walk-a-Thon - Register for the yearly walk to join in raising awareness of the horrible, but real crimes affecting youth everywhere. - https://bit.ly/2G5hBk1

April 18: Voices Against Violence Gala -  Join Day One at the Voices Against Violence Gala, a benefit to end dating violence among youth, honoring Teen Vogue. -http://tinyurl.com/dayonegala2018

April 25: Denim Day - Wear jeans on Denim Day to stand against the misconceptions surrounding sexual assault and victim blaming. - https://bit.ly/1cszPg2

Resources

Remember to never force someone to talk if they are not ready. Just let them know you are there for support whenever they need it. If you or someone you know needs help, here are a few resources:

Day One: 800-214-4150

Visit our “Get Help” page if you or someone you know needs help.  - http://bit.ly/2rk8qFW

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673

Women’s History Month: The women who came before #MeToo and #TimesUp

Throughout history, women’s voices have been silenced. Many powerful activists for women’s rights have paved a way for more women to speak out. Recent movements like #TimesUp and #MeToo provide platforms for all people who identify as women and all those who have been abused and harassed to step forward and share their stories. During Women’s History Month, Day One recognizes and celebrates women that began the fight and encouraged each other to stand together against sexual violence and inequality.

Powerful Women Shout-outs

Simone de Beauvoir - 1949 - Simone is famous for her book, The Second Sex, in which she points out the issues of patriarchy and explores how it oppresses women. She received huge backlash for speaking out, but paved the way for feminists everywhere.

Edith Green - 1960’s - Edith was one of few women in Congress during the 1960’s, serving as an Oregon Representative. She composed the bill that is now known as Title IX, banning sex discrimination in federally funded schools. This allowed women to attend college and provided access to women’s athletics.

Anita Hill - 1991 - When the grey area of acceptable work behavior and banter was still being determined, Anita Hill submitted a statement regarding the sexual harassment she endured from U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Clarence Thomas when he was her boss. Although he still secured his spot, Anita’s fight opened the door for women to speak up and forced national attention to sexual harassment issues.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg - 1993 - Ruth was appointed the second female Supreme Court Justice after co-founding the Women’s Rights Law Reporter in 1970, and starting the “Women’s Rights Project” at the American Civil Liberties Union. She has consistently fought for women’s rights and voices everywhere to this day.

All Those Speaking Out Against Inequality and Sexual Violence

Many women and supporters have joined the fight recently. Follow these powerful women and mirror their strength in your daily life to celebrate Women’s History Month and every month!

#MeToo

The #MeToo Movement was founded by Tarana Burke about 10 years ago to support survivors of sexual assault, particularly women of color. The movement recently received a new burst of support when Alyssa Milano, an actress from the T.V. show Charmed, encouraged her fellow women in the industry to stand together by sharing the hashtag #MeToo on social media. This sparked a following of more than just those in the entertainment industry and brought to light the large number of women who have experienced harassment and/or violence in their lifetimes.

Here are a few ways to get involved and support this movement:

  • Share #MeToo on social media, if you’ve experienced sexual violence and feel comfortable sharing

  • Join the movement and receive updates on the website

Time’s Up

Time’s Up was started at the beginning of 2018 by women who work in the entertainment industry. The campaign focuses on recognizing the issue that power imbalances cause within the workplace The campaign’s letter of solidarity reaches out to women that may feel small and voiceless in workplaces with men in positions of power. The campaign aims to hold workplaces responsible for safety and support in such situations.

Here are a few ways to get involved and support this campaign:

  • Share #TimesUp on social media to spread the word

  • Educate yourself on current inequality issues

What can you do? 

Here are things you can do in your everyday life:

  • Support loved ones who have experienced sexual violence and provide them with resources if they are interested

  • Speak out and get help when witnessing a dangerous situation

  • Start a conversation on topics like sexual harassment and stay informed

  • Educate yourself on your rights with free guides from Day One

  • Donate to local campaigns and nonprofits that provide services and support


 

Why It was So Hard For Me to #tellthemnow

When I was in my bad romance in high school (the one my new young adult novel, Bad Romance, is based on), it was hard for me to be honest with my friends and family about what was really going down in my relationship. For one, when your partner is a master of manipulation, it can be hard to know what exactly is going on in the first place. I can’t tell you how many arguments began with me accusing my boyfriend of something, only to end with me apologizing to him. Teen Dating Violence isn’t just physical or sexual abuse: it is often mental, verbal, and emotional.

Manipulation and an unbalanced power dynamic are key to an abusive partner retaining control in the relationship. There were so many conversations I rehearsed before they happened—some of them attempts to break up with my boyfriend. But once they were underway in real life, I felt like someone had put a blindfold over my eyes, turned me around three times, then threw me into a labyrinth I couldn’t find my way out of. My boyfriend always had the perfect argument or accusation or put-down. The next day, I didn’t even know how to talk about it with my friends because I wasn’t even sure what had happened. Was I right? Was I wrong? Was I the worst girlfriend in the world?

Shame also plays a huge factor. Abusive partners are often professionals at cutting down your self-esteem and making you feel really, really small and gross and bad. Jealousy plays a huge role here. If your boyfriend or girlfriend is super jealous, they’ll likely make you feel like you’re acting or dressing inappropriately. These accusations really mess with your head and what they often result in is a feeling of shame. Maybe I am a slut, you think. Why did I decide to wear that dress? Shame also comes in when you know you need to leave your partner, but you just can’t. You’re embarrassed: you feel weak, like a door mat, and you know your friends are going to be frustrated that you won’t get out. You hate who you’ve become and talking about it when you know you’re not going to leave your partner only makes it worse. By the end of my bad romance, I was suicidal. I felt so trapped and alone and ashamed and it took me sitting on the floor of my kitchen with a knife to finally call my best friend and tell her just how bad things had gotten.

And then there’s fear—the biggie. Sometimes the fear is related to your safety: perhaps your partner has threatened you or the people you care about. This could be physical, but it could also be threats to spread rumors about you on social media, or share intimate photos or tell secrets. But the fear can also simply be a fear of loneliness. No matter how bad your partner is, maybe they feel better than the alternative. I had a tough home situation and, as awful as my boyfriend made me feel, he got me out of the house. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

There’s also the issue of being really co-dependent. The idea of not sharing your life with this person can be terrifying. You’re so close, so connected. They are a part of so much of your life. The thought of not going to your places together, not having your rituals and traditions, not having them there waiting for you after class…being together, staying together, can be important enough to deal with almost anything. Throw an unsafe home environment on top of that, and you’re in a really dangerous situation. There were times in my relationship when I’d lost sight of myself entirely. I was willing to give up some of my biggest dreams just to make a relationship I wasn’t even happy in work. That’s some serious co-dependency. When you’re in this little bubble with your person, it’s hard to invite other people in. Your relationship is private, and you can feel like you’re betraying your partner if you tell friends or family about an argument, or a new rule your partner created, or something they said that hurt you. But this is your life, and you have every right to let whoever you want into it. Sometimes that’s just hard to see when you’re in that bubble.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the reasons it can be hard for people in relationships like these is that the people they are trying to reach out to end up not really holding space for them. I didn’t want a lecture or to see how frustrated and disappointed my friends were with me. I just wanted to know they were there, that I was being heard, and that they had my back no matter what. I absolutely credit my friends for helping me get out of my bad romance. I know it was so, so painful for them to see what I was going through. My best friend actually wrote an amazing post about being the friend in this situation, which I highly recommend you check out. But it took two and half years for me to get out, which required a LOT of patience on their part (don’t give up on your friend in their bad romance!).

The big takeaway? Don’t be afraid to talk to people you trust about your bad romance. It’s not a betrayal of your partner. You’re not being a “bad” girlfriend or boyfriend. If something is hurting you, then you have to talk it through with someone who is not your partner. Feel free to set up your boundaries ahead of time. Sometimes I would say, I just want to tell you what happened, but I’m not looking for advice right now. That’s okay. The more you let people you trust in, the easier it will be to see your way out of the claustrophobia and fear in your bad romance. And once you get that breath of fresh air, you’ll be surprised at the strength you discover inside you.

Bio

When Heather Demetrios isn’t traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, she lives with her husband in New York City. Heather has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real. Her critically acclaimed novels include I’ll Meet You There, Bad Romance, and the Dark Caravan trilogy (Exquisite Captive, Blood Passage, Freedom’s Slave). She is the editor of the forthcoming anthology of epistolary essays, Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love, which features letters from real teens. Find out more at www.heatherdemetrios.com. Tweet to @HDemetrios.

Get Out of Your Bad Romance: 10 Steps Toward Saying Boy (or Girl) ‘Bye

Written by Heather Demetrios

Here’s a scary thing: one in three teens are affected by dating violence. One in three. I don’t know why this surprises me, since nearly every girl I talk to admits that she’s had an abusive boyfriend or knows someone who was in a bad romance. Maybe she’s with him now, or maybe they broke up ages ago after too much shouting and crying and hurting. Maybe he was emotionally or physically abusive. Maybe he was verbally abusive. Maybe he was just plain mean. Some of my guy friends have had abusive boyfriends or girlfriends, too. It’s kind of ridiculous, how much heartbreak so many of us are willing to put up with just so that we don’t have to be alone.

When I was sixteen, I fell for a conman. He seemed sweet and gentle, like he wouldn’t hurt me in all the ways other boys had, like he’d be better than my dad was with my mom. I bought his nice guy story hook, line, and sinker. We were happy for a while: what girl can resist a boy who composes love poems on the spot, who tells her he loves her more than anyone else, who promises to make the hurt go away? When he was jealous, I felt proud: this was a sign of his affection. When he spied on me at work to make sure I wasn’t flirting with other guys, I believed him when he said he just really missed me (cue butterflies in my stomach). I told myself he was over-protective when he started watching me sleep at night or that he just wanted to know the real me when he demanded to read my diary. I ignored my friends when they said he was bad news. I refused to listen to the little voice inside me that said break up with him. It took two and a half years to see that he didn’t love me at all—what he felt for me was poison, romantic arsenic that had led me to such a dark place inside myself that I was scared. I had conversations with kitchen knives (How much would it hurt to slice you across my wrists?) and bottles of pills (Will I pass out or will you make me feel every second of my dying?).

Eventually I got out. My best friends were there to pick up the pieces and I spent the summer after graduation healing and hoping. Two months after I got out of my bad romance, I met the boy who would one day become my husband. We’re living happily ever after—and I want you to have that, too. If you think that you or a friend might be in a bad romance, keep reading. Below are some things to watch out for, and some strategies for saying boy ‘bye—and meaning it.

1. Recognize that he’s not the only person who loves you.

My life at home was hard—brutally unkind stepfather, a combative relationship with my mom, and embarrassing poverty. When my bad romance came along, I felt worthless, like nobody wanted me, like I didn’t fit anywhere. When my boyfriend said no one could love me as much as he did, I believed him, even though I had amazing friends who were willing to walk through fire for me. At the time, I didn’t realize that what he was really saying was this: you aren’t worthy of being loved any better. Screw that. I promise that even though it might feel like he or she really does love you best, if they’re making you cry yourself to sleep at night, they probably don’t.

2. Love yourself. (Really. It will save you.)

I tell my readers to #chooseyou because that’s what saved me in the end: I made a conscious choice to choose my happiness, my sanity, my dreams, my health, and my life over a boy who had done nothing but break me down word by word, argument by argument. Don’t wait as long as I did: by the time I wizened up, I’d already given up my dream school, a wonderful boy who promised to be everything my bad romance was not, and I almost lost my friendships. You’ve got skin in the game—your skin. Play for keeps. Play for yourself. You’re not being selfish when you take care of your heart—you’re being smart.

3. Listen to your friends.

When you’re in love, and especially when you’re in an abusive relationship, it can be really hard to see outside of the bubble you and your partner live in. When your friends point out that he’s not treating you right, don’t ignore them. Force yourself to hear them out and to give what they have to say real consideration. Don’t get immediately defensive. If it hadn’t been for my friends, I might still be in my bad romance—they saw all the ugly I couldn’t because I was wearing rose-colored glasses I was too scared to take off. 

4. Don’t ignore that niggling feeling.

Your boyfriend says something cutting and your stomach twists. He crosses lines you’ve drawn again and again. He wants you to stop hanging out with your friends. He pushes you against a wall, pressures you to have sex, puts you down when you’re not Perfect Girlfriend. Each time, you can’t breathe, your heart scrunches up, but you ignore the feeling and tell yourself he really is sorry, he really didn’t mean it, he really does love you. Don’t ignore that feeling. It’s your gut sending out an SOS: listen to it.

6. Set boundaries—and keep them.    

These are the ground rules: your body is yours and yours alone. It is not his to do with as he pleases. You don’t have to have sex or do anything with him in order to prove that you love him. You are not obligated, he is not owed. You are allowed to have secrets and private thoughts. No, he can’t check your email or scroll through your texts—put a passcode on your phone.  No, you’re not going to ditch your friends every time he calls, or cancel plans just because his have suddenly changed. And when you say no, it always always always means NO. Real love is about give and take, about a healthy balance.

7. Don’t make your boyfriend or girlfriend your world.

The best way to ruin a relationship is to have no life outside of it. Be passionate about something other than your partner. Get a life. When you give yourself a little bit of space, it’s so much easier to see all those hurtful words and actions for what they really are: power plays that attempt to control you. Be a girl boss and don’t fall for manipulation, jealous ultimatums, or the phrase “if you really loved me you would_________.” Join the soccer team, get a part-time job, start a study group or geek out over a new fantasy series. Have a sleepover, go to a party without him. If you feel free, if you feel happier whenever you’re not with him or her, chances are it’s time to walk out of this relationship without looking back.

8. Don’t make excuses for him.

When your boyfriend puts you down, don’t let him off the hook by saying he’s just in a bad mood. When he freaks out with jealousy every time you talk to another guy, don’t tell your friends “he didn’t mean it” or say he’s only doing that because his last girlfriend cheated on him. When he turns every argument around so it’s your fault, don’t assume he doesn’t realize what he’s doing. Create a list of all the things you want in a relationship and the kind of character traits you want to see in the person you’re with. How many of these things does your partner have today, right now?

9. Pay attention to the warning signs.

Abusive relationships are characterized by jealousy, manipulation, control, and verbal, physical, or emotional abuse. You can check out this list of warning signs that you might in an abusive relationship. Are a lot of these things on your list? Then it’s time to create an exit strategy. Go into battle mode and figure out how you can get out of this relationship safely. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: your friends, school counselor, a teacher, someone in your family…don’ the ashamed to say I can’t do this alone. There are free hotlines you can call or text and organizations that will help you. Find out all about them at www.badromancebook.tumblr.com/thehelp.     

10. Have hope.

Believe that you are worthy of real, good, true love. Know that as impossible as your situation may seem right now, it’s not going to last forever. You have the power to choose who you love. You have the strength to get out of this bad romance and start being able to breathe again. It will hurt, but the hurt won’t last forever. Your future self will thank you.     

Bio

When Heather Demetrios isn’t traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, she lives with her husband in New York City. Heather has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real. Her critically acclaimed novels include I’ll Meet You There, Bad Romance, and the Dark Caravan trilogy (Exquisite Captive, Blood Passage, Freedom’s Slave). She is the editor of the forthcoming anthology of epistolary essays, Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love, which features letters from real teens. Find out more at www.heatherdemetrios.com. Tweet to @HDemetrios.

 

Holding Space So Youth Can #TellThemNow

Written by Heather Demetrios

As a young adult author, my goal when I sit down to write a story from a teen protagonist’s point of view is to present their experiences as authentically as possible, to try to get in the skin of this character and see the world the way she would in 2018. The vast majority of us who write for teens do so because our teen years still resonate deeply with us. Sadly, in many cases this is because we had particularly tough experiences growing up including, in my case, teen dating violence. I reached out to Day One after learning about the amazing work they do to educate both youth and the adults who serve them, immediately seeing that they would be an ally in my own efforts to bring the realities of teen dating violence to light. My most recent novel, Bad Romance, is a semi-autobiographical journey through one girl’s experience of abuse by her boyfriend. In it, I show how a teen might find themselves in this situation, and what factors—such as a less-than-ideal home life, manipulation, and emotional abuse—make it so hard to get out.   

This past Saturday, I attended my first You(th) Already Know conference—probably the best kickoff to Teen Dating Violence Awareness month I could imagine. I wish my main character, Grace, could have gone to this. I wish my teen self could have attended, too. This annual Day One conference is aimed at creating a space where youth and youth-serving professionals can come together to strategize on how to end teen dating violence. With one in three teens reporting that they’ve experienced some kind of abuse in their relationships (including verbal and emotional abuse), events like these are needed now more than ever. One major reason this event is so powerful is that teen voices are valued here. Their experiences, opinions, and ideas are just as important—if not more important—than those of the adult attendees. As a young adult author, I’m constantly amazed by teens. Not only are today’s youth incredibly articulate about their inner lives, they’re deeply observant about relationship patterns and well-versed in pop psychology.

Nowhere was this more apparent than in the conference’s opening act by the ridiculously talented Lavender Gonzalez, a trans teen with a soulful voice that rivals Nina Simone, and an incisive songwriter who is able to distill the horrors of an abusive relationship so well. In the song “Believe” he sings: I wanted to believe you so bad that I forgot to believe in myself. And in the incredibly timely “Me, Too” he sang these powerful original lyrics: When you hear my story, don’t say it isn’t true / Because when they hear my story / they’ll raise their hands and say Me, Too. This really sums up the heart of the conference, which was all about how to tell our stories (in the cases of teens) and how to hear others’ stories (the adults who serve them). That’s what this month’s Day One hashtag #TellThemNow is all about.

In one of the day’s workshops, The Anti-Violence Project dug into what it means to hold space for someone telling you what’s going on with them. “Hold space” is a term that’s been bandied about recently, a beautiful idea of being someone who can allow the people around them to feel heard and safe. This particular workshop focused on how to do just that, with teens chiming in about how frustrating ageism can be, and how it hinders them from opening up to the adults in their lives about their struggles. Even though the landscape of adolescence has changed so much since I was a teen in the nineties and early aughts, I know my teen self would have agreed with them. It was hard to talk to the adults in my life. Many of them didn’t take my struggles or my relationship seriously and that, in part, was why I ended up staying in an unhealthy relationship for so long. I didn’t feel heard.

In another workshop I attended, this one led by the Jon Torre Safe At Home Foundation and Margaret’s Place, we did various activities to get to the heart of what consent is and isn’t, from creating our own individual relationship Bill of Rights, to analyzing skits performed by the workshop leaders that highlight all the gray areas where consent is concerned. The teens in the room were quick to recognize situations that were unsafe and were so incredibly concise about what is and is not okay in a relationship. To me, this was yet another example of how youth already know the situation on the ground: they just need the support from the adults in their lives to help them stay safe. The conference zeroed in on the importance of youth agency and autonomy, which is part of why Day One’s work is so powerful. When youth feel seen and heard—when the adults in their lives hold space for them—they’re able to safely explore their options and move closer to getting out of (or avoiding) unhealthy situations.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on intersectionality. I was so impressed by how ahead of the times the youth at this conference were. As adults, we have so much to learn from their open-mindedness, big hearts, and clear understanding of the importance of every person to be valued and respected for who they choose to be. There was also a real understanding of how the different parts of us (race, gender, class, sexuality, immigration status, etc.) must be considered whenever someone tries to hold space for us. This makes it easier for adults to help youth identify the goals they have and determine the steps to get there. It’s also enormously helpful when aiding a youth in coming up with a safety plan.

I wish every young person and every adult who serves them could have gone to this conference. I can’t help but think of all the suffering I might have avoided if I’d been more aware of my rights in a relationship. When I was in my bad romance, I knew I wasn’t in a safe space (you(th) really DO already know), but I didn’t have the tools to get out.

A few quick takeaways for adults and teens alike:

What is on your Bill of Rights for a relationship, be it romantic or otherwise?

What’s your definition of consent?

Do you have a safety plan? What is it? How can the adults in your life help you implement that?

What is the truth you have to speak right now?

I look forward to exploring all of these issues more in the coming month here on the Day One blog, where I’ll be talking about teen dating violence and how to #TellThemNow. If there’s anything you’d like me to specifically cover, don’t hesitate to contact me via my website.

Until then, I hope you’ll be able to join the conversation this month using the hashtag #tellthemnow. For youth: what would you like to tell the adults in your life? Maybe it’s something you’re too afraid to say right now. Or, if you’re an adult, what do you wish you could have told your parents, teachers, or other adults?

I’m sending out wishes that this month you will choose yourself and see that the most important person in any relationship is yourself. Be gentle.

Bio

When Heather Demetrios isn’t traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, she lives with her husband in New York City. Heather has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real. Her critically acclaimed novels include I’ll Meet You There, Bad Romance, and the Dark Caravan trilogy (Exquisite Captive, Blood Passage, Freedom’s Slave). She is the editor of the forthcoming anthology of epistolary essays, Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love, which features letters from real teens. Find out more at www.heatherdemetrios.com. Tweet to @HDemetrios.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM)

Help us celebrate healthy relationships and join us in taking action to spread awareness and prevent dating violence!

Here’s how you can participate:

Events:

HANDS ARE FOR HOLDING ASSEMBLY - THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2018

Gibney Dance will hold a special Hands are for Holding assembly in partnership with the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence on Thursday, February 15 at 10:00 AM at 280 Broadway (entrance at 53A Chambers Street). Presented during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, students, elected officials, and business leaders from across New York City are invited to attend to learn more about the program and how it promotes healthy relationships.

Hands are for Holding is a school-based program that uses dance as a tool to prevent violence, promote healthy relationships, and provide resources about intimate partner violence to young adults. The program involves short performances by professional dancers from Gibney Dance Company, which are followed by a talk back with a community educator. The goal of the program is to help the students identify signs of bullying and abusive relationships, as well as provide them with preventative actions.

Please RSVP to Stacy Bauerlein at stacy@gibneydance.org with your name and the number of students that you will bring to the event. 

Blog Posts:

Heather Demetrios, the author of Bad Romance, will be writing special blog posts for us in honor of TDVAM. Watch this space for weekly posts!

Social Media: 

Follow us on social media @DayOneNY and participate in Respect Week, Feb 12-16 #RespectWeek2018. February 14th is #Orange4Love Day, wear orange to show your support for survivors of teen dating violence. 

In addition, we will be doing our own campaign throughout the entire month:

#TELLYOURSELF.png

Trainings:

In February, Day One is partnering with both the Department of Education and Administration for Children's Services to provide skill-building trainings for key staff members. Trainings are designed to help professionals prevent, identify, and intervene in patterns of unhealthy or abusive relationships among the teens they serve. Day One’s professionals trainings are youth-informed, non-judgmental, inclusive, and include a mixture of activities, lecture, guest speakers, and video. In recent participant satisfaction surveys, ninety percent of our training participants report feeling more confident responding to disclosures of dating abuse through empathetic response, creating safety plans, and resource sharing. 

Please contact Michele Paolella at mpaolella@dayoneny.org, if you any questions about these trainings. 

Workshops:

Give Love Dance Jam with Christina Robson

February 12 @ 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM 280 Broadway / Suggested Donation: $10

The Give Love Dance Jam is a donation-based dance class led by Christina Robson. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and proceeds from the event will support Day One, Gibney Community Action partner organization. Hands are for Holding is a violence prevention dance assembly offered in elementary, middle and high schools.

 

TDVAM Flyer, 2.27.18-1.png

Healing in the form of Revolution

Written by Ava

 

"The end of rebellion is liberation, while the end of revolution is the foundation of freedom.”

-Hannah Arendt, On Revolution

 

In my first year of college, I read a lot of Hannah Arendt. She, a 20th century woman political theorist, impressed me greatly, and is sort of the unofficial mascot of my college (she’s even buried in our campus cemetery, alongside her husband Heinrich Blucher). In Constitutional Law, we read her book On Revolution, in which she describes both the American and French revolutions, claiming the former to be successful and the latter to be unsuccessful. As described in the quote which prefaces this post, Arendt believed the French Revolution to have failed in that it was grounded in rebellion against the monarchy, and not in the authentic experience of revolution. As Arendt says, the most crucial element of revolution is experiencing the ‘exhilarating awareness of the human capacity of beginning’.

I did what my liberal arts college taught me to do, I used what I was learning and contextualized it in different facets of my interest. I contemplated Arendt’s words in International Relations, in Spanish 201 and in my intro to literature class. Then, I brought these concepts of  rebellion, revolution, beginnings and freedom into the context of my own history. In looking back at my experience with dating abuse, I found that Arendt’s words remained sound.

In my immediate liberation from dating abuse, I retaliated from my abuser entirely. I dressed ways he would’ve never allowed, ate more food than he would’ve tolerated and frequently went out with friends he’d previously isolated me from. Still, I was unhappy, for  escaping my abuser was not what made me free, it simply liberated me from his grasp. Everything I did felt like an act of defiance against the concepts of control, subjection and force. In this period of newfound autonomy, I hadn’t yet examined what I enjoyed, and instead acted in the opposite manner of which my abuser would’ve wanted me to. To draw in Arendt’s theory of failed revolutions: I wasn’t truly free from my abuser if my liberation was grounded in rebellion against abuse. Rebellion alone did not lead me to finding my true self in the absence of my abuser, it was recontextualizing, redefining and revolutionizing myself which allowed to me freely and boldly heal from trauma.

My experience of an ‘exhilarating awareness of the human capacity of beginning’ was unique, as it is for each survivor of abuse. Sure, I did some of the typical post-break up things that are portrayed in movies— I cut all my hair off, threw away things that reminded me of my abuser and deleted all the traces of him on my social media. But some elements of my experience of the ‘exhilarating awareness of the human capacity of beginning,’ took a lot longer to work at. I had a lot to reevaluate. The way I presented myself, the food I ate, the people I hung out with, the habits I had taken up, my understanding of normalcy— these things had largely been formed by my experience of abuse.

I began to think of this revolutionary period as a gift. I had granted myself a blank slate, a chance at rebirth. In this time, I searched for new restaurants, parks and movie theaters that weren’t plagued by memories of violence, and even returned to some of those stained spaces, creating new memories in their place. I took back my right of narrating my own experience, sharing with close friends the details of my abuse. With the support of those friends, I unlearned the effects of unhealthy dependence, manipulation and gaslighting, and relearned the concepts of love, trust and self care in their place.

Safety Planning for the Holidays

Written by Remy Valentine

The holiday season is stressful for many people, but getting through the holidays while experiencing abuse, encountering a past abuser, or witnessing a loved one suffer from abuse can feel extremely overwhelming. Spending time with family and friends, dealing with financial stress, and traveling can make safety planning a challenge.  In addition, family and friends of survivors may struggle to find ways to help or be supportive which, as a result, could cause increased anxiety and isolation. In order to get through the holidays without danger, it is important to prepare accordingly and have a safety plan in place. Although the holidays can be overwhelming and stressful there are tips and techniques that you can read about and implement into your plan in order to create a less anxiety-ridden holiday.

 Experiencing Abuse:

There are many factors a victim must consider when preparing for the holidays. Traveling is a common part of holiday planning and many survivors don’t feel safe spending time with their partner in a small space, such as a car or plane. In this case, you may want to consider giving your itinerary, including where you’ll be staying and contact information, to a trusted friend or family member (preferably someone who doesn’t have close ties with your abuser).

Also, consider putting money aside for yourself in a safe place. That way, if you are put in a position where you have to escape your partner, you will have the finances to cover cab fare and a hotel room. It may also be a good idea to have a list of nearby hotels. In addition, become aware of available resources, such as shelters, in the area that you’re traveling to and keep their address and contact information readily available. Lastly, know the emergency number for the city/country you are traveling to.

If you’re currently with an abusive partner, reach out to a trained domestic violence advocate. Remember, reaching out does not require you to figure out an escape plan right away, you can simply call to talk. If you can’t call safely from your home, call from a trusted friend’s house, your doctor’s office or a public library.  If you have children with you this holiday, check out The Hotline’s post on safety planning with children. The post covers unsupervised visitation, safe child exchange and ideas for children living with an abusive parent.

Creating A Safety Plan- If You’re Experiencing Abuse

  • Consider discussing ways to make parties or family visits safer. An example is asking if people can make a commitment to not have alcohol around, or limit the amount served.  

  • If you’re a victim who does not feel safe sleeping in the same room as your partner, consider talking with your hosts or family about finding a separate couch or sharing a room with other guests or family members.

  • Consider brainstorming reasons to get out, like helping someone with holiday plans or gift shopping; you can be creative with these ideas.

  • Try to make your own plans to get rest, get good nutrition, talk to supportive friends and do things you enjoy.

Encountering A Past Abuser:

Survivors can be especially fearful of the holidays when the abuser is a member of their family. As the holidays approach it is normal for survivors to experience feelings of anxiety, guilt, worry, panic, and loneliness. If you are a survivor and you know your abuser will be present for the holidays, you are forced to face the reality that you will encounter your abuser, which can trigger traumatic memories. But it’s not always the abuser that the survivor is afraid of facing; in some instances survivors may fear family members who neglected to believe them about the abuse. It could be a mother who continued her relationship with a father or boyfriend as if  the abuse never happened, or maybe you are going back to the home you grew up in that holds the memories of the abuse you experienced and witnessed when you were growing up. Facing these family members could bring on a variety of emotions.

It is important for survivors to remember that what they are feeling is completely normal and valid. You have a right to your own thoughts and feelings, you are not overreacting, and you are not making things up.

Creating A Safety Plan- If You’re Encountering A Past Abuser

  • Reach out to a neutral party, such as domestic violence advocates and hotlines. Survivors often feel isolated because of patterns of not being believed, fear of disclosing, or concerns about creating family tensions or division. It can be easier to talk to a neutral third-party that can offer support.

  • If you’re a survivor, consider brainstorming reasons to get out, like helping someone with holiday plans or gift shopping.

  • Try to avoid close quarters. For many survivors, family pressures or traditions do not permit them to stay outside the family home. In this situation, survivors should brainstorm ways to avoid the perpetrator during gatherings.

    • Make plans that involve leaving the home for an extended period of time, such as catching up with old friends or offering to run errands for the household.

    • Stick to common areas and public places within the home or building, such as a living room or kitchen, and try to avoid secluded areas.

    • Avoid talking to, sitting near, or standing around the person who hurt you. It’s okay to draw boundaries, even if it makes other family members uncomfortable.

Witnessing A Loved One Suffer From Abuse:

Seeing someone you care about being hurt is also stressful. Remind yourself that you can’t make decisions for someone else, but you can ask a survivor what they need and offer help. If you suspect someone in your life is the victim of an abusive partner, watch for red flags, such as extreme possessiveness, jealousy, intimidation, humiliation, threatening and pressuring. To support a victim, it is important that friends and family members remain non-judgmental and supportive.  If you’re worried about someone who is experiencing abuse and you’re not sure what to say, remember that you cannot “rescue” them. Finding out that a loved one is experiencing abuse may cause you to feel responsible for fixing their situation in order to stop the abuse and save your loved one from experiencing pain. Instead of trying to “rescue” them, acknowledge that they are in a difficult and scary situation, be supportive and listen, encourage them to participate in activities outside of their relationship with friends and family, encourage them to talk to advocates who can provide them help and guidance and help them develop a safety plan.

Creating A Safety Plan- If You’re A Family Member or Friend

  • Ask the survivor to go on a shopping trip or errand with you, go for a walk or workout, invite them to a celebration or have them help you with a chore/holiday prep activity in order to give the victim space away from their abusive partner.

  • Offer to be on standby for the victims texts or calls throughout the holiday season; have your phone on and fully charged at all times and keep it on you.

  • Assure them that they are welcome to take refuge in your home if they need somewhere to stay.

  • Check-in regularly: call or text your loved one once a day at a random time to see if they are all right.

  • For further information click here to learn more about how to provide support to your loved one.

If you are a survivor of intimate partner violence there are many organizations you can reach out to for help. We suggest taking a look at our resources page to learn more about organizations in your area. Remember that you can always talk to a domestic violence advocate at our toll free hotline (1.800.214.4150). 

CROWDFUNDING GUIDE

WHAT IS GIVING TUESDAY?

#GivingTuesday: n. global day of giving, celebrated on Tuesday, November 28th after Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

Day One is kicking off the charitable giving season with a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign centered around #GivingTuesday. Here’s where you come in.

GETTING STARTED

Start a fundraiser to rally your friends, family, and co-workers to support Day One. Get started in three easy steps! Start a Fundraiser

  1. SET YOUR FUNDRAISING GOAL

$250, $500, $1,000, it’s up to you! Making a personal donation is also a great way to kick off your fundraising.

  1. CUSTOMIZE YOUR PAGE

Personalize your fundraising page by adding a title, photo and description with your message to supporters!

  1. SHARE

Help spread awareness and raise dollars for Day One by sharing your fundraising page with friends, family and co-workers through email, text, and social media. It’s super simple and super effective.

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

TITLE (Name of your Fundraiser)

Just note, if you plan on changing the title, this will also change your fundraising page URL. Be sure you are satisfied with your Title before sharing the link to your fundraising page!

DESCRIPTION (Why you are doing this)

Let your friends and family know why you are fundraising to support Day One. Remember it’s your story and your connection to the organization that makes the difference. Feel free to write your own or customize the example below.

Example Campaign Description:

1 in 5 teenage girls have experienced abuse in their relationships within the previous year. 

Day One is working to change this by educating young people to identify and maintain healthy relationships. Please join me in supporting Day One by making a donation by November 28th. Here's how your gift will make an impact: 

Every dollar you give will support Day One’s work to end dating abuse and domestic violence.

Since 2003, Day One has educated more than 75,000 youth and youth serving professionals about healthy relationships and warning signs of abuse.

In 2017, Day One has provided direct legal and social services to over 2,300 clients.

PHOTO

Upload a selfie OR Upload the Day One logo

EDITING YOUR FUNDRAISING PAGE

If you’d like to edit your newly created fundraising page you can do so by activating your Donately account.

1. Search your inbox for an email with the subject line “Getting started with your new fundraiser”.

2. Select the “activating” link to activate your donately account. DO NOT CLICK “signing in”.

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3. Confirm your email address. You will then receive a second email with the subject line “Set your Donately Password”. Click this link to create your Donately account password.

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4. Enter a password. We suggest using: FirstName_LastName_Age
Password must be considered “Strong”, not “Better” to proceed. Select Go to Dashboard.

5. Select Fundraisers on your dashboard. Select edit to update to your fundraising page.

6. Go to https://dashboard.donately.com/a#/login to login anytime using your email address and password.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

Make It Personal

Share your story and connection to Day One. The more personalized you make your asks, the more people will relate and support you with a donation.

Get Social

Use the “share” button on your fundraising page to post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and email to reach your friends, family and co-workers.

Double Your Impact

Matching gifts are a great way to double your fundraising impact. Make sure you and your donors check with Companies to see if they will match your contributions.

Think Big

Ask for specific dollar amounts from your supporters. Make sure you follow up with a call or text.

Get started with your fundraising today! 

Below are a few templates and assets to get you started.

SAMPLE EMAIL

Dear NAME,

As you may know I serve on the Young Professionals Board for an organization called Day One. This #GivingTuesday, I’m raising awareness and support for Day One’s important work which keeps young people safe from dating abuse and sexual assault.

Please consider making a $AMOUNT donation by November 28th using this link: ADD LINK. 

Every dollar contributed makes a difference so please give whatever you can. Thank you for your support!

To learn more about Day One visit their website: www.dayoneny.org

SAMPLE TEXT

Hey. I’m raising money to support Day One an organization that is working to end dating abuse & domestic violence. Donate to support my cause! ADD LINK. 

SAMPLE POSTS FOR INSTAGRAM                                                                       

This #GivingTuesday I’m raising money to support @DayOneNY and their work that keeps young people safe from dating abuse and sexual assault. Please consider making a donation by Nov. 28th using the link in bio. #MyGivingStory #DayOneNY #LoveShouldAlwaysBeSafe #BlackFriday #CyberMonday

Together we can empower young people to identify and maintain healthy relationships! This #GivingTuesday I am raising funds to support @DayOneNY so they can educate even more people on healthy relationships. Donate by Nov. 28 using the link in bio. #MyGivingStory #DayOneNY #LoveShouldAlwaysBeSafe

Join me in supporting @DayOneNY this # GivingTuesday. Together we can empower young people to identify and maintain healthy relationships! Donate by 11/28 using the link in bio.#GivingTuesday #MyGivingStory #DayOneNY #LoveShouldAlwaysBeSafe #BlackFriday #CyberMonday

SAMPLE POSTS FOR FACEBOOK

This #GivingTuesday I’m raising money to support @DayOneNY and their work that keeps young people safe from dating abuse and sexual assault. Please consider making a donation: ADD LINK #GivingTuesday #MyGivingStory #DayOneNY #LoveShouldAlwaysBeSafe

Together we can empower young people to identify and maintain healthy relationships! This #GivingTuesday I am raising funds to support @DayOneNY so they can educate even more people on healthy relationships. Donate by Nov. 28: ADD LINK #MyGivingStory #DayOneNY #LoveShouldAlwaysBeSafe

Join me in supporting @DayOneNY this #GivingTuesday. Together we can empower young people to identify and maintain healthy relationships! Donate by 11/28: ADD LINK #GivingTuesday #MyGivingStory #DayOneNY #LoveShouldAlwaysBeSafe

SAMPLE POSTS FOR TWITTER

Join me in supporting @DayOneNY. Donate by 11/28 to help us reach more people in our fight to end #domesticviolence & #datingabuse this #GivingTuesday. ADD LINK

Join the #GivingTuesday movement & #donate to @DayOneNY to help end #domesticviolence & #datingabuse. ADD LINK

This #GivingTuesday I’m raising money to support @DayOneNY & their work to keep young people #safe from #datingabuse & #sexualassault. ADD LINK

ASSETS

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Types of Abuse

Written by Ava Mazzye

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a term used to describe harm or abuse occurring within an intimate relationship. IPV can be perpetuated by both current and former partners, and does not require sexual intimacy. One can experience or perpetrate IPV at any age, although youth aged 18-24 are most likely to experience IPV.

While there are many different ways through which IPV manifests itself, it generally falls into five main categories. Although IPV may look different from case to case, IPV always depends on power and control, and generally involves taking away the victim’s autonomy.

  1. Physical abuse can look like preventing access to an object or a space, as well as pinching, scratching, hitting, scarring, burning, pulling hair, choking or restraining. It can even look like not allowing access to necessary objects, like medicine or food. More about physical abuse can be found here.

  2. Emotional/Mental/Verbal abuse includes the use of manipulation, put-downs, blame shifting and gaslighting. An abuser typically uses manipulation and put-downs by either targeting or creating insecurities for the victim. Blame shifting refers to the classic, “I wouldn’t have hit you if you had listened to me,” where the abuser attempts to make the victim feel at fault for the violence they suffer from. Gaslighting refers to invalidating or obscuring one’s sense of reality, for example, pretending not to remember previous incidents of violence.

  3. Financial abuse involves preventing school or work attendance, or forcing work. It can also look like witholding credit cards, giving allowances, holding debt over someone’s head. Forcing work can bleed into the area of human trafficking. More about financial abuse can be found here.

  4. Technological abuse can look like excessive or unwanted texts or calls, unwanted sexting, going through one’s phone, or controlling one’s social media. It can also involve tracking a partner through apps like Find My iPhone. This type of abuse is most prominent within youth partnerships. More about technological abuse can be found here.

  5. Sexual Abuse involves pressuring or forcing or coercing someone either verbally or physically to engage in sexual acts with the abuser, or someone else. This can bleed into technological abuse, in the form “revenge porn.

Why Would Someone Stay in an Abusive Relationship?

Written by Ava Mazzye

For those who have not experienced abuse, it is difficult to understand why the survivor in an abusive relationship might stay with their abuser. However, leaving an abusive relationship is much easier said than done. Many survivors of abuse are stuck in cycles of emotional manipulation and physical or sexual violence and exploitation, which are difficult to escape from. The only people that truly understand the complexities of any given abusive relationship are those people in the relationship.

When survivors of abuse come out about their experience, they are often asked this question: “Why didn’t you just leave?” While it may be innocently intended, survivors of dating abuse may interpret this question as demeaning, and may regret coming out about their experience.

So, why don’t survivors of abuse simply leave their abusers? Well, here’s why:

On average, it takes a survivor 7-8 attempts to leave their abusive partner before it is done successfully. Domestic violence experts say that the risk of domestic homicide is at its highest when a survivor attempts to leave an abuser, because an abuser may try to escalate their power and control tactics to force a person to stay.

In youth, the issue could be all the more complicated. For example, if the people within the relationship attend the same school, the survivor may have to switch schools, which would require explaining the situation to one’s guardians. Youth dating is often stigmatized in families, making it all the more difficult for teens to tell their guardians about their experience with dating abuse.

Financial security and shelter are two things which survivors of abuse may need before even thinking of leaving an abuser. If someone cannot obtain either of these, they might have to choose between enduring abuse and homelessness. Separating from an abusive partner while maintaining financial security can involve many steps, like separating assets/bank accounts, finding housing or a way to generate income.

Emotional abuse or threats may stop someone from leaving an abusive relationship. Oftentimes, abusers do not only reserve their abuse for their romantic partners. Leaving an abuser might cause them to threaten pets or the survivor’s children as collateral.

Immigration status or language barriers also pose difficulties for a survivor of dating abuse. An undocumented individual may fear that their partner will report them if they leave the relationship, or otherwise may not report abuse for fear of contact with law enforcement. Language barriers may also hinder one from finding resources.

Isolation is also a major barrier in leaving an abuser. Abusers often utilize the tactic of isolation, pushing away the survivor’s friends and family, in order to assert control over the survivor. Without a support system, a survivor of abuse may not have the resources to leave their partner.

Finally, a person may not leave an abuser because they may not understand themselves to be in an abusive relationship. While New York City middle and high schools are required to include sexual health education in their curriculums, topics of dating abuse and unhealthy relationships are not always taught. In addition to this, youth have warped ideas of romantic relationships due to popular culture, like Romeo and Juliet, Twilight, and Fifty Shades of Grey.

The notion that leaving an abusive relationship is simple and easy contributes to the shame and isolation that survivors feel when trapped in the cycle of dating abuse.

#DVAM2017 Social Media Posting Guide

Background: Thirty years ago, October was designated Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) as a way to build public consciousness of a pervasive, but hidden social problem. This year, we invite you to help raise awareness of DVAM among your friends, family, and followers by tapping into your social media networks.

1. Make sure you’re following Day One on social media, if you aren't already!

2. Create DVAM content to share across your social media accounts throughout October.

  • Tell people about DVAM and its significance.

  • Share why DVAM is important to you personally, if you feel comfortable.

  • Share important statistics about dating abuse, IPV, and DV.

  • Have fun! Get creative with text, graphics, and even selfies to help generate awareness.

  • Direct people to the DayOneNY.org website for resources on how to recognize signs of dating abuse/IPV and how to get help.

  • Always mention our campaign hashtag, #LoveShouldAlwaysBeSafe, in your posts. This will help us measure campaign impact, learn, and improve upon our programs.

  • Incorporate other trending DVAM #s to help people discover your posts, e.g. #DVAM2017, #ImAnAdvocate, #WhyICare, #endDV, #NoMore, #ThisIsDV, #31n31, #DVAMTurns30, #PurpleThursday.

3. Like, share, retweet, regram Day One’s posts to help spread the word on what we’re doing. Doesn’t get easier than this!

4. Want to do more? Join people across the country during National Week of Action and share your actions on social media. Remember to include our campaign hashtag in your posts!

  • Sunday, October 15, Conversation Sunday: Start conversations about DV with friends, family, colleagues, or even your followers. Sample Talking Points.
  • Monday, October 16, Media Monday: Challenge misconceptions about DV that you’ve seen perpetuated on social media. Also, share tips for how to stay safe online.

  • Tuesday, October 17, Tie-In Tuesday: Join the national Twitter chat from 2-3 PM (ET). @DayOneNY will be a co-host, and this year’s theme is #Safety4Survivors.

  • Wednesday, October 18, Write-In Wednesday: Write a letter to the editor to call attention to and share your perspective on DV. See tips for writing an effective letter and an example letter to the editor.

  • Thursday, October 19, #PurpleThursday: Wear purple to show your support for survivors and for ending DV! Post a selfie, sharing three words for what real love means to you. For those working on the front lines of change, the color purple has come to represent courage, persistence, honor, and the commitment to ending DV.

  • Friday, October 21 - Film Friday: Host #DVMovieNight! See movie ideas and movie night conversation guide.

  • Saturday, October 22 - Shout-Out Saturday: Celebrate the people you admire who speak out for survivors and use their voices to make a difference.

Value in Variety: Reflection on Day One’s You(th) Already Know! Conference

Written by Eleanor Crawford

I first heard about Day One’s You(th) Already Know! Conference during a phone interview I had for an internship at Day One.  I was already excited about the position, but became even more enthusiastic after learning that part of my job would be helping to plan a youth centered conference on intimate partner violence (IPV).  Day One’s dedication to include youth as participants in the conference, but also to empower them through leadership, education and creative input opportunities felt inspiring!  

Once I started working on the conference, my excitement grew as the specifics came together (finding a caterer caused an especially notable amount of excitement).  When we made decisions about which workshops to include, we realized that we had received an incredible variety of workshop proposals.  We had always intended to offer a diverse selection of lessons, but receiving so many unique submissions made it possible.  The featured topics didn’t cater to one type of person, but instead catered to the diverse interests of NYC youth.  How cool is it that we were able to include a lesson on “Domestic Violence and Immigration,” as well as the lesson “‘Oh My God, Becky:’ How Body Policing, ‘Thot’ Culture and Other Forms of Misogyny Impact Teens” at the same time during the conference?!  We thought it was pretty cool.

As a part of my Community Education Internship, I created a workshop to present at the conference titled: “From Flirting to Sex: The Importance of Consent in Every Stage of a Relationship.”  Workshops at the conference were supposed to discuss the intersections of IPV and other identity-based oppressions.  During a workshop brainstorming session I came up with the idea of exploring the connection between dating abuse and other issues I’m passionate about.  I’ve done a lot of work around consent and sexual harassment in school, which is why I chose to focus on sexual violence in relationships.  During the conference I led discussions and activities that got participants thinking about how getting consent is not thought of as part of flirting, starting a relationship, being in a relationship or having sex, when it really needs to be.  I was also able to discuss sexual abuse, as well as elements of power and control, because of what I learned at Day One.  The workshop had many moments where participants and I were talking about different norms in relationships and exclaiming, “how do people think this is okay?!”  (It was great though, because we then got to go deeper into this and actually talk about what makes people believe those things are okay and generate ways we can change that.)

The You(th) Already Know! Conference gave me an opportunity to combine multiple issues in order to educate an audience on a complex topic.  My internship with Day One has expanded my knowledge on IPV exponentially, which was very beneficial to my workshop and will continue to impact me throughout my career.  When I first started at Day One, I thought that coming in without extensive knowledge of dating violence would make me a less valuable employee.  The conference helped me to see that this is not the case at all!  I observed how valuable it was to have workshops on many different topics and saw that my workshop contributed to this variety.  The specificity of my knowledge, just like the expertise of every other amazing conference presenter, added resources to the day that wouldn’t have been there if everyone had taught an overview on IPV.  Day One is special because the organization brings together people with different experiences and focuses who have the shared intention of combating dating violence, which was especially apparent at the You(th) Already Know! Conference this May.