Press Mentions

Because Hamiltonians Protect Youth: Stephanie Nilva ’88

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Looking to use her legal expertise to fight domestic violence, attorney Stephanie Nilva ’88 in 2003 launched the nonprofit organization Day One, which serves young people in New York City. She’s been its executive director since the beginning.

Over those years Day One has become a leading local voice in the battle against dating abuse and domestic violence for people ages 24 and younger. Taking a comprehensive approach, the organization works both to prevent domestic violence and support its survivors. Day One provides legal representation and counseling to survivors, trains youth to be peer educators, conducts workshops for adults and for students in their own schools, and advocates for better public policy and more support in the fight.

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Warning Signs of a Manipulative Partner, According to 8 Experts

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Too often, people equate dating abuse or domestic violence with physical altercations. Abuse can also be verbal, emotional, financial, or technological. Coercion, harassment, manipulation and stalking behaviors are frequently present when one partner is abusive. Relationships can be very unhealthy and unsafe, even when there is no physical violence.

Warning signs of dating abuse can include but are not limited to extreme jealousy or insecurity, possessiveness or treating you like property, telling you what to do, or taking away your ability to make choices.

The abusive partner may also employ tactics designed to make you feel powerless, like isolating you from your friends and family, making false accusations, repeatedly crossing your boundaries, and pressuring you to do things you don’t want to do.

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The State Of Sex Education in New York

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If you're like most people who attended public school in the United States, sex education evokes memories of being separated into boys and girls, giggling as instructors slipped condoms over bananas and flipped through highly detailed anatomical diagrams. Thankfully, you may have thought, it was over after one or two days.

Or maybe you didn't have sex ed at all. Only 24 states plus Washington, DC mandate sex education in public schools, according to the Guttmacher Institute: New York is not one of them. Our state does mandate HIV education, but there's no requirement that what is taught be medically accurate or culturally appropriate.

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How Do You Stop Abusive Relationships? Teach Teens How To Be Respectful Partners

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In each 45-minute workshop, teens learn about “consent” vs. “coercion” — concrete terms that help them to frame their life experiences. “If somebody asks you out five times and you say no four times and on the fifth time you said yes, is that consent? We’ll have lively discussions about that,” Day One Social Work Supervisor Rebecca Stahl told NationSwell. “We don’t try to come into those conversations with answers. It helps young people form a critical analysis of the relationships they see in the media, in school, modeled by their parents and modeled by their peers.”

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Nonprofits don't like Mayor Bill de Blasio's plans for early child education

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Nonprofit updates from across New York. Day One raised $300,000 at an April 17 event in Manhattan. The event commemorated the sexual assault-fighting nonprofit’s 15th anniversary and honored filmmaker Abigail Disney, according to an April 25 press release. MSNBC political analyst Zerlina Maxwell, a rape survivor who created the #RapeCultureIsWhen hashtag, also attended the event.

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What You’d Learn in Sex Ed Today That You Didn’t 20 Years Ago

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Do you remember ever being taught how to maintain a healthy relationship? Much like how to do taxes or choose the right health insurance, this vitally important day-to-day skill was largely looked over during sex education. “Anyone can have sex, but having a relationship, one that is healthy and based on respect and trust takes work and practice.” explains Macklin. “Young people need to be able to learn about relationship dynamics and communication skills so that they can negotiate sexual relationships.”

And that includes respecting one another. “Stealthing and birth control sabotage are issues that weren’t discussed years ago; in fact, the terms only recently came into usage in the last handful of years,” says Stephanie Nilva, executive director of Day One, “the primary voice of expertise in New York City on the issue of dating abuse and domestic violence among youth.”

Something that had yet to exist 20 years ago, online harassment has risen to prominence over the past few years, especially sexual harassment. “Conversations in schools today would include the use of technology as a tool to harm others, such as ‘slut-shaming’ and sexual harassment online, nonconsensual pornography, or revenge porn,” notes Nilva. Unfortunately, this has become so prevalent, she says, that many legal cases have been brought on the subject, and legislation has been proposed or passed in many states.

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8 Tips For Getting Through Awkward Talks With Your Teen

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The teenage years are the time when kids are developing their own unique identity, says Stephanie Nilva, executive director of Day One New York, an organization in New York City that counsels survivors of intimate partner violence. “At the same time, their personalities haven’t been fully formed. Remember: It’s their role and responsibility to be testing boundaries, to be exploring, to be figuring out what their identity is.” Given this, you want to try to be as open as possible to talking to your teen about even the most awkward of topics.

If your kids haven’t hit the teen stage quite yet, here’s some good news: Now’s the time to build trust with them. “Make sure the children in your household feel comfortable talking to you,” Nilva says. Then, when they’re older, make sure when you’re thinking about discipline or accountability, what comes first is your overall concern with their health and safety. “In other words, urge them to talk to you even if you’re upset that your teen violated an understanding you had whether it’s about violating a curfew or anything else—that trust is what’s most important.”

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Sex Education in New York

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Re “How to Make Sex More Dangerous” (Op-Ed, nytimes.com, March 11):

We at Day One agree with Andrea Barrica’s assessment of sex education. Teaching students about consent, teenage dating violence and bodily autonomy is critical to prevent abusive and coercive relationships.

While statistics vary, nationally nearly 1 in 11 female teenagers and about 1 in 15 male teenagers experienced physical dating violence within the last year. In New York, about 10 percent of teenagers reported experiencing physical dating violence.

New York has the chance to pass a bill that for the first time would mandate statewide, medically accurate health education teaching consent, the intersection of technology and dating violence, and other related topics.

Day One assists young people 24 and younger who are experiencing some form of intimate partner abuse. Throughout our organization we interact with tens of thousands of young people citywide each year.

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The Authors Of 'All American Boys' Think 'Esquire' Failed To Address Toxic Masculinity In A Meaningful Way

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Stephanie Nilva, the executive director of Day One, a nonprofit organization that focuses on reducing domestic abuse by working with youth, believes it is critical to help teenagers build an understanding of systemic oppression by introducing teenagers to discussions about male and white privilege.

"Media can undo the damage that their action or inaction has caused by lifting up the marginalized voices that were silenced or have not yet been heard," she tells Bustle in an email. "They can identify toxic masculinity and male privilege for what they are — systems of oppression and precursors to control and violence (which are exacerbated by white supremacy) — instead of presenting them without comment.”

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A Survivor's Guide to Getting Through Valentine's Day

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There’s an aspect of Valentine’s Day that can be even more detrimental than what triggers dredge up. Since Valentine’s Day evokes an idealized notion of love, it can remind survivors of good times they had with an abuser and make them feel particularly lonely, which may, in turn, tempt them to go back to that abusive relationship.

Social Services supervisor Natalie Rentas of Day One, a nonprofit working to end dating abuse and domestic violence, often sees these feelings come up with clients during holidays. “They hold onto the memories of the good times that they had, especially during these holidays, and that usually breeds a hope that this person can go back to being the good person that they were,” Rentas tells Allure. “Despite how much hurt they [experienced], they can remember how good it felt, and think that they can probably make it work, because at one time, things were good.

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Council unanimously passes Queens lawmaker’s bill to ensure quality services for domestic violence survivors

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Stephanie Nilva, executive director of Day One, which partners with youth to end dating abuse and domestic violence, believes that young people can provide valuable contributions to the efficacy of city services to address their unique needs.

“Day One applauds today’s City Council vote requiring the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender Based Violence to provide satisfaction surveys to constituents at the Family Justice Centers,” said Nilva. “Critically important services are delivered in the five FJCs, and feedback from survivors should play a central role in their operation.”

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Sex Ed Fails Teens By Ignoring Sexting

When Johanna Burgos asks rooms of teenagers whether they know someone who has sent a nude picture, about 90 percent of the room always raises their hand. 

“Whether they’re sending the photo or not, they know someone who is sending the photo,” she says. 

Burgos oversees a program that teaches healthy relationships at middle schools in New York City. She uses this story to illustrate one thing: Teenagers need to learn about sexting. 

But they’re not. 

American students are either not learning about sexting in the classroom at all, or the lessons they do receive don’t adequately address the wide spectrum of experiences teens may have.

There’s no comprehensive data showing the number of U.S. school districts that address sexting in sex ed, but several sex educators told Mashable that it’s uncommon, based on their experiences and conversations with school officials. 

Burgos, who works for Day One, which focuses on dating abuse and domestic violence, describes it as “hit or miss.” When she does a workshop on technology, for example, some school administrators ask her not to talk about it at all. Others want her to broach the subject because they hear that students are sending nude photos and spreading rumors. Alternatively, they want to help students figure out if it’s a healthy choice for their relationship or coercive. 

One thing is clear for sex educators, though: Avoiding the subject isn’t the right approach. 

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Group Uses Dance to Tackle Serious Subjects For Kids

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Four dancers glide across the floor, holding hands and leaping in tandem. Suddenly, they and the music are interrupted by the sound of incoming text messages that demand to know “What are you doing?” “Where are you?” “Who are you with?” The questions cause one of the dancers to lose focus and to break away from the others.

This performance is one of four in the repertoire of “Hands are for Holding,” a program created by the dance center Gibney to fuel discussions about healthy relationships and intimate-partner violence with students in grades four through 12. Each assembly features four dancers and a community educator who facilitates a post-performance conversation.

“We utilized the dances as a proxy for the conversation because what makes a healthy dance is often the same thing that makes a healthy relationship,” says Kara Gilmour, the center’s senior director of community training and outreach. “Communication, patience, equity — without those a dance falls apart.”

Gibney is more than a dance school. Yasemin Ozumerzifon, director of community action, says it has worked with survivors of intimate-partner violence since 2000 and realized a few years ago that they also wanted to focus on prevention through dialogue with young people.

“Hands are for Holding” held its first assembly in 2014, in conjunction with Day One, a youth-focused organization aiming to end dating abuse and domestic violence. The program expanded this year thanks to the Mayor’s Grant for Culture Impact, which funded six-month partnerships between city offices and cultural organizations. Gibney, along with six other groups, was one of the first to receive this $50,000 grant.

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Financial Abuse: The Dark Side of Money and Love

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We asked experts to share their insight into why financial abuse occurs, warning signs, and advice for recovery:

Why financial abuse occurs

Stephanie Nilva, Executive Director of Day One"Financial abuse is one of many ways abusive partners attempt to control others. Creating financial dependence can isolate the victim and cause them to rely on the abusive partner more heavily. Without friends or family for support, the survivor has much more difficulty ending the abusive relationship. Sometimes there might be cultural or gender 'norms' about who is the wage-earner taken to an unhealthy level."

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The 2018 New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards Prize Winners Announced

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In its 12th year, The New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards made changes to ensure that the program was more accessible to all nonprofits and representative of the diversity of the sector. This year, separate prizes were introduced to recognize organizations who excel in one or more areas of NPCC’s Eight Key Areas of Nonprofit Excellence, which are: results and impact, governance, financial management, diversity, equity and inclusion, human resources, information technology, communications, and fundraising. The Overall Nonprofit Excellence Award winner is Safe Horizon, which was judged by the 31-person Selection Committee to demonstrate the most innovative and replicable management practices. Safe Horizon also will receive the Key Area Award for Information Technology. The runners up, the Osborne Association and Day One, were also recognized with Key Area Awards. . . Day One (Manhattan) partners with youth to end dating abuse and domestic violence through community education, supportive services, legal advocacy, and leadership development. They are recognized for their practices in Human Resources, where they are transparent with staff about budgets and salary, while supporting a fun and innovative work environment.

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New York Groups Want Early Consent Education To Combat Teen Dating Violence

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“If young people perceive that their friends think that dating violence is acceptable, they’re more likely either to experience or perpetrate violence,” said Bachman. “Dispelling this myth that it’s normal to experience that in your relationships is really important, because people are having that validated as normal all the time by the people around them.”

Nationally, one in three teens reports dating abuse. And reports in physical dating violence have risen in the city over the past 20 years, according to Day One. There are 1,400 calls every month from teenagers to the NYC Domestic Violence Hotline. In the past six months, a Brooklyn teen was allegedly killed by her ex-boyfriend and a Queens man was convicted of kidnapping and raping a 15-year-old girl he met online.

Studies show that comprehensive sex education can reduce dating violence by as much as 60 percent. While four in 10 New York City students don’t receive comprehensive sex education in school, educators and nonprofits are pushing to teach consent to all children starting in elementary school.

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