Denim Day

April 27, 2017

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In 1992, an 18-year-old girl stepped foot into her driving instructor’s vehicle in the small town of Muro Lucano, just 60 miles from Naples – anticipatory for the lesson and new as a student, she sat in the passenger seat and was driven to an isolated location. Though naïve during the first moments of the detour route her instructor took, the situation drastically escalated. Pulling the girl out of the car, he wrestled her out of one leg of her jeans, forcefully raping her.

Fast forward to that night: after the man made her drive home, she told her parents about the assault, who supported her to press charges. Fortunately, the perpetrator was arrested and prosecuted, but the rape conviction did not stop there as he appealed the sentence.

In 1998, the case advanced to the Italian Supreme Court, as written by denimdayinfo.org. But what was once thought as a deplorable crime against an innocent girl was flipped upside-down: she was pitted against the court who overturned the case, dismissing the assaulter.

How could this possibly be, though? How could the highest court not support a girl’s claim for being raped when the evidence was clearly laid out? – or was it really apparent? The Chief Judge argued that since the victim wore very tight jeans, she needed to help in the removal of them, thereby making it consensual sex, as reported by University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s “Campus for Awareness and Relationship Education” page. Still, this is no excuse for an overturn.

Amidst the background of “Denim Day,” we are all asked to make a social statement because there is no excuse for rape. On Wednesday, April 26, the community was asked to wear denim jeans in support of rape survivors. The first Denim Day event was organized in 1999 by Peace Over Violence, a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles, which was led by Patti Giggans, as written by University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

From registering to wear jeans on Denim Day to locating events specific to the cause in your area or ordering a $5 Denim Day toolkit with ideas for events and engagement, the opportunities for participation are growing. According to denimdayinfo.org, as of today over 10 million participants have registered to rise up against not only the Italian Supreme Court ruling, but also rape cases that occur on college campuses, at work, etc.

In honor of Denim Day, senior Andy Lou writes “He/she is drunk  she/he wants/ought to get raped!” Though the 18-year-old girl was not drunk when she was victimized, nor was she under the influence of drugs, Lou’s statement highlights how rape is never okay, no matter what the conditions may be.

“The ruling by the Italian Supreme Court was not only stupid, but also very sad,” he said. “There are so many similar instances that occur, like if a girl or even guy got drunk – sometimes, the judges will try to pinpoint the problem on what the victim did wrong, but in reality, it should be the opposite. This kind of social injustice happens everywhere.”

How exactly can people’s voices be heard and social justice delivered? Of course, there is the classic donating to various charities to support sexual assault survivors and putting on events to raise awareness, giving a voice to the victims who were once voiceless, but Lou also explains that listening to those assaulted is a primary step in developing their confidence and stabilizing their mental health.

“Listening to a friend or someone you know and reassuring him/her that he/she didn’t do anything wrong is the first thing that should be done in order to help build the person back up,” he said. “Your appearance should not be related to what you deserve, or you looking beautiful does not mean that you want to have a sexual encounter. A lot of people have an ego of trying to ‘get somewhere,’ but we all have that hope that one day it will stop. We all can do something to help with this cause by promoting what’s right versus what is wrong.”

I am asking you to listen to those perpetrated and connect with the online movement first – visit the YWCA website or that of Denim Day’s; utilize hashtags, such as “#noexcuse” or “#denimday” to spread the word.

Smart Women, Smart Money

April 25, 2017

AdvocateLegislationJoin us in raising awareness about the issues that affect women’s long-term economic empowerment (the wage gap, paid sick and family leave, fair scheduling practices, educational access, and affordable child care) and how you can join YWCA in advocating for increased economic security for women.

Action

 

Are you ready to take charge of your financial future? April, aka Financial Literacy Awareness Month, is the perfect month to start your journey to economic independence. Women are at higher risk for financial instability, but with the right planning women can achieve financial success and stability. Check out the following information to learn what women’s financial reality is, what small steps you can take to take control of your finances, and free or inexpensive local and national resources that can support you on your financial literacy journey. Also, don’t forget about our Smart Money Smart Women event April 29th! Sources: • https://www.wsj.com/articles/women-especially-are-failing-financial-literacy-1434129899 • https://www.annuity.org/financial-literacy/women/ • https://www.forbes.com/sites/jefflanders/2014/03/06/financial-literacy-the-key-to-every-womans-financial-stability/ • http://gogirlfinance.com/ • http://www.wife.org/

April 17, 2017

Why Women need to be financially literateTake Charge of YourChange Your Trajectory

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April is Financial Literacy Awareness Month

April 14, 2017

Blog 1 Thumbnail (002) MSW4.4. Equal Pay GraphicHow can we reduce the wage gap-To learn more...

Sexual Assault Impacts and Involves Men. Routinely, there are more sexual assault cases brought to the forefront involving women as the victims – after all, an estimated 17.7 million American women had experienced some form of sexual misconduct as of 1998 (whether attempted or completed), as reported by RAINN. However, we also routinely fail to acknowledge the prevalence of rape culture amongst males. According to 1in6.org, a sexual assault awareness website bringing to light the abusive sexual encounters males experience, “1 in 6 men have experienced abusive sexual experiences before age 18. And this is probably a low estimate, since it doesn’t include noncontact experiences, which can also have lasting negative effects.” The term “males” is spoken loosely as I have not yet crossed the line between race, ethnicity, or even sexual orientation and whether men are specifically targeted to a higher degree because they are not per say “of American descent,” do exhibit a darker skin tone, or love another man. As a sophomore at Saint Louis University, Rob McGrath is your typical Aviation and Flight Science major: he attends class, hangs out with friends; he even goes to parties, but one looming precedent he sees fit in changing on campus and the work force is incorporating the male voice within the sexual assault awareness campaign. “On campus and even at your job, there should be discussion groups talking about these topics, where we can all come together to talk about our experiences no matter our gender or background,” McGrath said. “Just knowing that there is someone else out there who has experienced what you have gone through can be comforting – usually people don’t want to go public announcing they were assaulted, so these safe spaces would be a good option.” One of the strongholds in raising awareness, engaging both men and women within the community, is through local participation, whether it be holding events or linking with organizations by promoting advocacy. On Monday, April 3 at 7 p.m., the YWCA in St. Louis held an event called “Hearing the Whispers and Roars,” an evening dedicated to readings and artwork from rape survivors. What was highlighted throughout was not only self-expression through language and personal interaction, but that which delved into multimedia platforms. Though never assaulted, McGrath’s photograph above captures the hardships he understands others have encountered. Half of his face is shown; the other side is not clearly seen. Whether you interpret it as a representation that sexual assault violence physically tears a person in two or that the survivor’s story only makes up a portion of who he/she is and not the whole, the analysis rests within the story of the victim and the steps being taken to lead to awareness. “I see sexual assault, especially for men, as very underreported,” McGrath said. “You think of men as masculine, so they probably don’t want to speak out because they would be embarrassed and very hurt. There’s so much we can try to do to help give them a voice, though.”

April 10, 2017

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Every 98 seconds, a person experiences sexual assault – while it is difficult for me to grapple with this statistic presented by RAINN as the notion of rape is far from my radar with pursuing Journalism and Biomedical Engineering at Saint Louis University, the harsh reality exemplifies that both young men and women alike are suffering daily from undesired sex. Yes, I have been objectified as passersby have cat-called at me while I was running, expecting some sort of acknowledgement; yes, my relationship I was in awhile back was not ideal. However, I consider myself lucky. I am close with some people today who are surviving rape victims, and the mental scarring still haunts them. What’s worse is that college campuses nationwide (nearly 100 as reported by writer Nick Anderson of the Washington Post, 2014) disclosed cases of rape violence as more of a PR problem rather than that of a civil rights and public safety issue. Although never assaulted, sophomore at Saint Louis University Fernanda Alvilez encompasses the ideal of ‘intersectionality.’ As a Latino woman, she houses both gender and racial minority classes. Studies have indicated that there was a disproportionate ratio of sexual assault attacks targeted at minority women, like Alvilez (Sabina, Cuevas & Schally, 2015). “Everyone, including guys and girls, should be aware of sexual assault because it does unfortunately occur on campuses, and this awareness can prevent us from being put into those situations,” she explained. Fortunately, sexual assault violence has fallen by more than half since 1993 as reported by RAINN, with every 1.6 per 1000 people as of 2015. Despite the improvements made, the number is still too high – certainly Alvilez mentions that “some situations are unavoidable,” such as being cat-called, but acknowledging the warning signs and advocating for awareness can help. Traditionally, many rape prevention programs and sexual assault crisis centers actively engage women as volunteer or staff members. In order to transform the societal issues, rape needs to be addressed as not only a “women’s issue,” but that which affects both genders. Men can practice healthier forms of masculinity and raise awareness by tabling events, handing out fliers, and the like, while the ladies also remain firm in their advocacy. Rape is not acceptable. Fernanda’s picture below states, ‘We are united in silence.’ We are voiceless only if we choose to be. Utilize your voice whether it is standing up for a friend, joining a campaign against sexual assault, or being aware of your surroundings. Our speech is the most powerful form of communication. -Meredyth Staunch

March 30, 2017

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Preventing Sexual Violence

May 17, 2016

Preventing Sexual Violence: Community Call to Action

 

By: Stephanie Cook

 

As Sexual Assault Awareness Month comes to an end, it’s important to learn how to stay involved all year with preventing sexual violence. In this post we’ll provide some ways for you to join the movement!

Learn More

Educating yourself about sexual violence is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent it. We have provided a number of resources here, with descriptions for each:

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: This blog post of ours covers basic definitions, statistics, and impacts related to sexual violence

Myths about Sexual Violence: This web page discusses common myths associated with sexual violence and provides facts and explanations to prove them wrong

Consent: Refer to this article for information about consent in sexual interactions, including what consent is and what it looks like

 Sexual Rights: This chart is really helpful in listing and describing the inherent rights we have to our own bodies and sexual experiences

Supporting Survivors: Take a look at this article for things you can say and do to be there for a survivor of sexual violence

 Self-Care After Sexual Assault: This article can help those healing from sexual violence to come up with physical and emotional self-care strategies that work well for them

 Take Action

There are many ways to take action to prevent sexual violence! Below are a few suggestions:

Attend a Workshop:

Attending community education workshops about sexual violence can equip participants with the knowledge and skills to work toward ending this issue. Read the descriptions below for more information about workshops provided in the St. Louis area:

YWCA Metro St. Louis Women’s Resource Center: Provides community education about sexual assault and abuse, including risk-reduction and awareness training, professional education, psycho-educational groups, and off-site outreach services

YWCA Metro St. Louis Woman’s Place: Sexual violence often occurs within intimate partnerships. Woman’s Place provides workshops to educate family and friends, as well as professionals, about how to effectively support survivors of intimate partner violence

Safe Connections on Campus: Provides a space for college students to get involved with learning about and preventing sexual assault and intimate partner violence

Bridgeway Behavioral Health: Provides bystander intervention trainings in St. Charles County and Lincoln County to work toward strengthening community responses to sexual violence

 Use Social Media:

Throughout the year you can share information about sexual violence, such as the resources we have listed above, to your social media platforms. You can also share and participate in campaigns, pledges, and other activities. The following organizations have plenty of ways to stay involved. Learn more about what they do and follow them on social media to stay connected:

RAINN: The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network provides a number of statistics and social media posts that you can use to raise awareness about sexual violence and support survivors. They also suggest other ways to get involved, including advocating for effective policies impacting sexual violence survivors.

NO MORE: NO MORE raises awareness about sexual assault and intimate partner violence. They have created several public service announcements addressing these topics, which you can share on your social media sites. They also have pledges and week-long action events that you can participate in.

 Volunteer:

Another way to take action is to volunteer. The YWCA Metro St. Louis and several other organizations in the area offer volunteer opportunities to support survivors of sexual violence. Here are a few you can check out:

YWCA Metro St. Louis

Safe Connections

Bridgeway Behavioral Health

Crime Victim Advocacy Center

Provident Life Crisis Services

 What are Resources in My Community?

Survivors of sexual violence deserve our care and support. The YWCA Metro St. Louis and other organizations in the area provide services for individuals who have experienced sexual violence or who are concerned that someone they know may be experiencing it. Check out this list to learn more:

YWCA Metro St. Louis Women’s Resource Center: Provides crisis intervention, therapy, and advocacy for individuals who have experienced sexual assault or abuse

YWCA Metro St. Louis Woman’s Place: Provides drop-in support and advocacy for individuals who have experienced domestic abuse

Safe Connections: Provides crisis intervention, individual counseling, classes, and support groups for teens and adults who have experienced sexual assault or intimate partner violence

Bridgeway Behavioral Health: Provides individual and group counseling and crisis intervention services for survivors of sexual violence in St. Charles County and Lincoln County. Also provides substance abuse services

The YWCA Metro St. Louis has also compiled a list of other community resources in the area for individuals who have experienced sexual violence, such as legal and counseling services.

Thank you for joining the YWCA Metro St. Louis for Sexual Assault Awareness Month this April. We encourage you to share this information with those around you and keep in touch with us as we advocate for healthy relationships all year round.

Facebook: YWCA Metro St. Louis

Twitter: YWCA Metro St. Louis (@YWCASTL)

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April 1, 2016

By: Stephanie Cook

 

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This month we’ll be raising awareness about sexual violence and discussing ways that we as a community can come together to prevent it. In this introductory post we’ll cover fundamental information about sexual violence, including definitions, statistics, impact on survivors, and community resources. Keep reading to learn more.

What is Sexual Violence?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines sexual violence as “any sexual activity where consent is not obtained or freely given”. 1 Sexual violence is an umbrella term that encompasses many types of harm or violation of a sexual nature. 2

 Other Terms to Know

There are a number of important terms to understand when discussing sexual violence. The terms listed below either help describe a few of the different types of harm included under the umbrella of sexual violence or help explain core concepts at the root of sexual violence:

  • Sexual Assault:

According to the National Institute of Justice, “Sexual assault covers a wide range of unwanted behaviors—up to but not including penetration—that are attempted or completed against a victim’s will or when a victim cannot consent because of age, disability, or the influence of alcohol or drugs. Sexual assault may involve actual or threatened physical force, use of weapons, coercion, intimidation, or pressure…” 3

 

  • Rape:

The National Institute of Justice defines rape as nonconsensual oral, anal, or vaginal penetration of the victim by body parts or objects using force, threats of bodily harm, or by taking advantage of a victim who is incapacitated or otherwise incapable of giving consent.” 3

 

  • Child Sexual Abuse:

Child sexual abuse is defined as “the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared and cannot give consent, or that violates the laws or social taboos of society.” 4

 

  • Sexual Harassment:

Sexual harassment is often discussed in relation to the workplace 5  or academic settings. 6 The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.” 5

 

  • Consent:

Since sexual violence is defined as sexual activity without consent, it is important to understand what consent means. Put simply, consent is defined as “an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity.” 7

 

Consent involves actively communicating with sexual partners to ensure that all parties always feel safe, respected, and engaged through any sexual activity. Consent means that all parties involved fully agree to and are enthusiastic about participating in any sexual activities before they occur. 7, 8, 9

 

While the concept of consent is simple, it requires a thorough discussion in order to truly comprehend. There are several essential points to cover when talking about consent. These include:

    • Consent must be given willingly, that is, without coercion 10
    • Consent can be withdrawn at any time 7
    • Consent for one sexual act, such as kissing, does not equal consent for any other act, such as intercourse. 7 When someone gives consent for sexual activity, they are only communicating that they are willing to participate in that act in that moment 8
    • There are certain circumstances in which an individual cannot give consent, such as if they are incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, if they are underage, if they cannot understand the concept of consent, or if there are power differentials between them and the person looking to engage in sexual activity with them. 11, 7, 8, 12

For more detailed discussions about consent, please refer to these articles by RAINN and the Sutter Health Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

 

Who is Impacted by Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence impacts individuals across all backgrounds and identities. Take a look at these facts for more information:

 

  • Most sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone the victim knows 2

 

  • In the 2006 National Violence Against Women survey, 17.6% of women and 3.0% of men indicated that they had been raped in their lifetime 13

 

  • According to the CDC, 14.6% of Hispanic women, 22.0% of Black women, 18.8% of White women, 26.9% of American Indian or Alaska Native women, and 33.5% of multiracial women reported experiencing rape at some point in their lives 14

 

  • In the same CDC study, 44.6% of women and 22.2% of men reported experiencing a form of sexual violence apart from rape in their lifetimes. 14 When these results were analyzed by sexual orientation, rates were at least as high, and in some reports up to twice as high, for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals 15

 

  • While it is difficult to gather statistics due to underreporting, some researchers state that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually abused by the time they are 18 16
  • In one study, 38% of women reported experiencing sexual harassment at a place of employment 17

 

What are the Effects of Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence can greatly impact the health of survivors, in both the short and long term. Impacts can include:

-Feelings of shame or guilt

-Fear

-Anxiety

-Depression

-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

-Suicidal thoughts or actions

-Self-harm

-Contraction of sexually transmitted infections

-Headaches

-Gynecological issues

-Substance abuse

-Injuries to genital areas or other body parts

-Eating disorders

-Sleep problems

-Chronic pain 18, 19, 20

 

Given the harmful effects of sexual violence, it is crucial to learn how to support survivors and empower them to seek care if they so choose.

 

What are Resources in My Community?

Survivors of sexual violence deserve our care and support. The YWCA Metro St. Louis and other organizations in the area provide services for individuals who have experienced sexual violence or who are concerned that someone they know may be experiencing it. Check out this list to learn more:

 

YWCA Metro St. Louis Women’s Resource Center: Provides crisis intervention, therapy, and advocacy for individuals who have experienced sexual assault or abuse. Also provides community education workshops and survivor support groups

 

YWCA Metro St. Louis Woman’s Place: Provides drop-in support and advocacy for individuals who have experienced emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. Also provides empowerment workshops, support groups, and education classes

 

-The YWCA Metro St. Louis has also compiled a list of other community resources in the area for individuals who have experienced sexual violence, such as counseling, victim services, legal services, and other agencies who serve individuals impacted by sexual violence.

 

 

We all can play a role in ending sexual violence. Join the YWCA Metro St. Louis this month in spreading awareness about this issue. Share this information with those around you and keep in touch with us as we continue to provide more ways to get involved with this effort.

 

Facebook: YWCA Metro St. Louis

Twitter: YWCA Metro St. Louis (@YWCASTL)

 

 

 

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control: Division of Violence Prevention. (2014). Understanding Sexual Violence. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/sv-factsheet.pdf

 

  1. National Sexual Violence Resource Center. (2016). What is Sexual Violence? Retrieved from http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/saam_2016_what-is-sexual-violence_0.pdf

 

  1. National Institute of Justice. (2010). Rape and Sexual Violence. Retrieved from http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/rape-sexual-violence/pages/welcome.aspx

 

  1. World Health Organization. (2003). Guidelines for medico-legal care for victims of sexual violence. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/42788/1/924154628X.pdf

 

  1. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (n.d.). Facts About Sexual Harassment. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/fs-sex.cfm

 

  1. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (n.d). Sexual Harassment. Retrieved from https://rainn.org/get-information/types-of-sexual-assault/sexual-harassment

 

  1. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (n.d). What Consent Looks Like. Retrieved from https://rainn.org/get-information/sexual-assault-prevention/what-is-consent

 

  1. Sutter Health Palo Alto Medical Foundation. (n.d.). Consent and Consensual Sex. Retrieved from http://www.pamf.org/teen/abc/sex/consent.html

 

  1. Project Respect. (n.d.). Consent. Retrieved from http://www.yesmeansyes.com/consent-0

 

  1. Loveisrespect. (n.d). What is Sexual Coercion?. Retrieved from http://www.loveisrespect.org/content/what-sexual-coercion/

 

  1. Indiana University. (n.d.). Information About Consent. Retrieved from http://stopsexualviolence.iu.edu/policies-terms/consent.html

 

  1. Emory University: Office of Health Promotion: Campus Life. (n.d.). Consent vs. Coercion. Retrieved from http://studenthealth.emory.edu/hp/respect_program/consent_vs_coercion.html

 

  1. U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs. (2006). Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Rape Victimization: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/210346.pdf

 

  1. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control: Division of Violence Prevention. (2010). National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf

 

  1. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control: Division of Violence Prevention. (2010). National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_sofindings.pdf

 

  1. National Sexual Violence Resource Center. (2012). Understanding child sexual abuse definitions and rates. Retrieved from http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/NSVRC_Publications_TalkingPoints_Understanding-Child-Sexual-Abuse-definitions-rates.pdf
  2. Potter, S. J., & Banyard, V. L. (2011). The Victimization Experiences of Women in the Workforce: Moving Beyond Single Categories of Work or Violence. Violence and Victims, 26 (4), 513-532. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21882672
  3. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. (n.d). Effects of Sexual Assault. Retrieved from https://rainn.org/get-information/effects-of-sexual-assault

 

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control: Division of Violence Prevention. (2015). Sexual Violence: Consequences. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/consequences.html

 

  1. Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs. (2015). The Effects of Sexual Assault. Retrieved from http://www.wcsap.org/effects-sexual-assault

 

Preventing Teen Dating Violence: Community Call to Action

March 11, 2016

Preventing Teen Dating Violence: Community Call to Action

 

By: Stephanie Cook

 

As Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month comes to an end, it’s important to learn how to stay involved all year with preventing teen dating violence. In this post we’ll provide some ways for you to join the movement!

 

Learn More

Educating yourself about teen dating violence is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent it. We have provided a number of resources here, with descriptions for each:

 

 

 

  • Healthy Relationships: This blog post of ours discusses what healthy relationships are and what they look like

 

  • Teen Equality Wheel: This tool from the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence outlines different elements of healthy teen relationships , with examples for each

 

  • Supporting Survivors: This site offers helpful steps to take to support survivors of teen dating violence

 

 

  • Dating Matters Training: This hour-long video uses a variety of interactive formats to help those working with youth to better understand teen dating violence

 

Take Action

There are many ways to take action to prevent teen dating violence! Below are a few suggestions:

 

Attend a Workshop:

Attending community education workshops about dating violence can equip participants with the knowledge and skills to end teen dating violence. Read the descriptions below for more information about those provided in the St. Louis area:

 

 

  • The YWCA Metro St. Louis YW-Teens programs: provides prevention education programs for teen girls, including community presentations on teen dating violence awareness, prevention workshops, and 8 week gender-specific program for girls on healthy relationships

 

 

Other great organizations in St. Louis also provide community education workshops related to teen dating violence. More information can be found here.

 

Use Social Media:

Throughout the year you can share information about teen dating violence, such as the resources we have listed above, to your social media platforms. You can also share and participate in campaigns, pledges, and other activities. The following organizations have plenty of ways to stay involved. Learn more about what they do and follow them on social media to stay connected!:

 

  • Loveisrespect: This site is dedicated to educating young people, parents, and educators about teen dating violence. Options for getting involved include creating public service announcements, writing stories, and participating in campaigns such as Start Talking.
  • NO MORE: NO MORE raises awareness about sexual assault and intimate partner violence. They have created several public service announcements addressing these topics, which you can share on your social media sites. They also have pledges and week-long action events that you can participate in.

 

Volunteer:

Another way to take action is to volunteer with an organization serving individuals impacted by dating violence. The YWCA Metro St. Louis and many other organizations in the area offer these opportunities. Here are a few you can check out:

 

 

*For Teens*

We especially encourage young people to get involved in the effort to end teen dating violence! Youth have the ability to create powerful social change. By educating themselves about what dating violence is and how to support survivors, teens can be there for those around them who have been affected by this issue. They can also help create an environment among their peers where abuse is not tolerated.

 

Teens, you are a vital part of this movement and we value your voices! Be sure to check out our above recommendations for getting involved and take a look at this high school student’s story about how she got involved in her area! Also consider joining our YW-Teens programs to connect with other young people making a difference in their community!

 

What are Resources in My Community?

Survivors of teen dating violence deserve our care and support. The YWCA Metro St. Louis and other organizations in the area provide services for individuals who have experienced dating violence or who are concerned that someone they know may be experiencing it. Check out this list to learn more:

 

 

 

  • The YWCA Metro St. Louis has also compiled a list of other community resources in the area for individuals who have experienced dating violence, such as shelters, legal services, and other agencies who serve individuals impacted by dating violence

 

 

Thank you for joining the YWCA Metro St. Louis for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month this February. We encourage you to share this information with those around you and keep in touch with us as we advocate for healthy teen relationships all year round.

 

Facebook: YWCA Metro St. Louis

Twitter: YWCA Metro St. Louis (@YWCASTL)

 

 

 

Teen Dating Violence and the Media

March 2, 2016

Teen Dating Violence and the Media

By Stephanie Cook

The media can be a powerful tool for teaching us about relationships. Books, music, movies, television, and social media expose us to compelling stories of people in romantic partnerships, whether they’re meeting for the first time, discovering their feelings for each other, or experiencing disagreements. Over time, these narratives come to inform our sense of how to behave with our own significant others, in both healthy and unhealthy ways. In this post we’ll talk about how media can contribute to teen dating violence and how we can critically engage with media to facilitate healthier relationships.

Effects of Media on Teen Relationships

Research has indicated that teens report the media to be one of the primary ways they learn about romantic relationships. 1 Through these media sources teens may form ideas of ways to behave with dating partners. 2 Due to tremendous amounts of violence existing in the media, however, teens are exposed to many examples of unhealthy relationship behaviors. 2 This exposure may influence teens’ attitudes toward use of violence in general and in romantic relationships specifically. 2, 3 It may also influence teens’ perceptions of behaviors that are acceptable in an intimate relationship. 2

 Relationship Portrayals in the Media

Given teens’ vast exposure to violence, it is important to teach them how to distinguish between portrayals of relationships that are healthy and those that are unhealthy. One resource that can assist with this task is Loveisrespect’s interactive power and control wheel.  This tool contains descriptions and videos to help users better understand what violent teen relationships may look like.

 While it is necessary to understand what unhealthy relationships look like, it is equally vital to understand what healthy relationships look like. Once teens have a better understanding of what to look for in media depictions of relationships, they will be better able to spot these depictions and critique them.

 Developing Media Literacy Skills

One step for teaching teens how to critique relationships portrayed in the media is to teach media literacy skills. The National Association for Media Literacy Education defines media literacy as “a series of communication competencies, including the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate information in a variety of forms, including print and non-print messages.” 4 Employing media literacy skills can help teens develop critical thinking skills to understand messages the media sends and how to respond to them in an informed, healthy way. 5, 6

The Center for Media Literacy created the following list of questions to ask to better understand media messages:

  • “Who created this message?
  • What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
  • How might different people understand this message differently from me?
  • What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in; or omitted from, this message?
  • Why is this message being sent? ” 7

 Asking these questions can help young people sort out which messages to pay attention to and which to not pay attention to 6. Once teens can more critically connect with portrayals of relationships in the media, they will be more equipped to recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships outside of the media.

It is important to note that developing media literacy skills is a complex process informed by a number of factors. While we have provided a few potential strategies in this post to begin facilitating that process, it takes time to learn new ways of engaging with media.

 Using Media to Promote Healthy Relationships

While the media can contribute to unhealthy attitudes surrounding dating relationships, it can also expose us to characters and real people who do have healthy relationships! Different forms of media can teach us about important components of healthy relationships, such as respect, honesty, trust, and strong communication. When we do come across forms of media that celebrate these healthy relationship skills, it is important to share them and talk about why they are healthy!

How Can I Learn More About Media Literacy?

Several organizations teach media literacy skills. We have provided national and local groups below. Check out their websites to learn more:

 

What Are Other Resources in My Community?

Survivors of teen dating violence deserve our care and support. If you are seeking resources related to dating violence, the YWCA Metro St. Louis and other organizations in the area provide services for individuals who have experienced dating violence or who are concerned that someone they know may be experiencing it. Check out this list to learn more:

YWCA Metro St. Louis Woman’s Place: Provides drop-in support and advocacy for individuals who have experienced abuse. Also provides workshops and education classes

YWCA Metro St. Louis Women’s Resource Center: Provides crisis intervention, therapy, and advocacy for individuals who have experienced sexual assault or abuse. Also provides community education workshops

The YWCA Metro St. Louis has also compiled a list of other community resources in the area for individuals who have experienced dating violence, such as shelters, legal services, and other agencies who serve individuals impacted by dating violence

 

We all can play a role in ending teen dating violence. Join the YWCA Metro St. Louis this month in spreading awareness about this issue. Share this information with those around you and keep in touch with us as we continue to provide more ways to get involved with this effort.

 

Facebook: YWCA Metro St. Louis

Twitter: YWCA Metro St. Louis (@YWCASTL)

 

 References:

  1. Wood, E., Senn, C., Desmarais, S., Park, L., & Verberg, N. (2002). Sources of information about dating and their perceived influence on adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 17(4), 401-417. Retrieved from http://jar.sagepub.com/content/17/4/401.abstract

 

  1. Manganello, J. (2008). Teens, dating violence, and media use: a review of the literature and conceptual model for future research. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 9(1), 3-18. Retrieved from http://tva.sagepub.com/content/9/1/3.abstract

 

  1. Friedlander, L. J., Connolly, J. A., Pepler, D. J., & Craig, W. M. (2013). Extensiveness and persistence of aggressive media exposure as longitudinal risk factors for teen dating violence. Psychology Of Violence, 3(4), 310-322. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/psycarticles/2013-20585-001
  2. National Association for Media Literacy Education. (n. d.). Media Literacy Defined. Retrieved from http://namle.net/publications/media-literacy-definitions/
  3. Media Literacy Project. (n. d.). What is Media Literacy? Retrieved from https://medialiteracyproject.org/learn/media-literacy/
  4. Smiler, A. (2014). Media Literacy. Retrieved from http://www.actforyouth.net/resources/pm/pm_media-lit_0614.pdfCenter for Media Literacy. (n. d). Five Key Questions Form Foundation for Media Inquiry. Retrieved from http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/five-key-questions-form-foundation-media-inquiry

 

 

 

 


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