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

 

 

 

 

Healthy Relationships

February 22, 2016

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is over halfway through. At this point in the month we’re talking about an essential step in reducing teen dating violence: creating healthy relationship behaviors. Join us as we explore what healthy relationships look like and how we can help teens build them.

What Are Healthy Relationships?

The Idaho Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence’s Center for Healthy Teen Relationships states that healthy relationships are built upon the following eight characteristics:

-Respect

-Safety

-Support

-Individuality

-Fairness and equality

-Acceptance

-Honesty and trust

-Strong communication 1

What Do Healthy Relationships Look Like?

In healthy dating relationships, partners feel safe with each other. They look out for each other’s best interests and cheer each other on as they make their way through life. Partners in healthy relationships talk with each other honestly and openly, with kindness and compassion. When partners have different ideas or opinions, they express them with care and deep respect. Partners in healthy relationships share equal space. They take the time and effort to listen to each other. They want to know each other’s thoughts and feelings and they always honor them. Overall, healthy relationships are about partners working together to create a supportive environment where they can each grow and flourish. 1

 How Can I Support Youth in Building Healthy Relationships? Teaching teens how to form healthy relationships is a team effort and we all have a unique part to play. Refer to the following sections to learn more about what you can do:

For Parents: Parents are a vital resource for helping their children develop strong relationships. One step parents can take is to speak with their kids about what healthy relationships do and do not look like. This resource provides some tips and talking points.

 For Educators:

Educators also have a central role in supporting students’ healthy relationship development. A great resource they can use is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 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 and how they can work to prevent it.

For Other Community Members:

Young people have many other prominent people in their lives besides parents and teachers. One way community members can help prevent teen dating violence is to attend workshops about this issue. Read the descriptions below for more information about those provided in the St. Louis area:

YWCA Metro St. Louis Woman’s Place: provides personal empowerment workshops as well as bystander intervention and abuse education classes

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

YWCA Metro St. Louis Women’s Resource Center: provides community education specific to sexual assault and abuse

Other great organizations in St. Louis also provide community education workshops related to teen dating violence. More information can be found here.
What Are Other Resources in My Community?

Survivors of teen dating violence deserve our care and support. If you are seeking resources other than those listed above, the YWCA Metro St. Louis and other agencies 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

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

-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. Center for Healthy Teen Relationships: A Project of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. (n. d.). Center for Healthy Teen Relationships: Building Healthy Teen Relationships – Teen Curriculum. Retrieved from http://idvsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Healthy-Relationships.pdf

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February 16, 2016

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Throughout the month YWCA Metro St. Louis will be raising awareness about this critical issue and encouraging parents, teens, and other community members to get involved in preventing it. As we start out the month, let’s take a look at some important definitions and statistics related to teen dating violence and its impact on young people.

What is Teen Dating Violence?

The Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence defines teen dating violence as “a pattern of behavior that includes physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse used by one person in an intimate relationship to exert power and control over another.” The Coalition specifies that teen dating violence occurs between persons 13-19 years of age. 1

What Does Teen Dating Violence Look Like?

Teen dating violence can play out in a number of ways, such as:

-Making insults or cruel comments

-Humiliating or spreading rumors about a dating partner

-Using social status to intimidate or control

-Threatening to “out” a partner’s sexual orientation or gender identity

-Hitting, kicking, pushing, punching, strangling

-Throwing things, destroying belongings

-Isolating a partner from their loved ones

-Pressuring a partner to kiss, have sex, or perform other sexual acts

-Performing sexual acts without a partner’s consent

-Preventing or controlling a partner’s use of birth control

-Keeping tabs on a partner through social media sites or electronic tracking

-Showing up to a partner’s locations without invitation

-Sending unwanted texts, phone calls, messages, gifts, or other forms of communication 2, 3

*While the term partner has been used in this list, it is important to note that young people may use different terms to describe those they are in intimate relationships with, such as someone they are “going out with”, “hooking up with”, or “seeing”. 4 Regardless of the language used or the relationship set-up, violence is always unacceptable and is never the victim’s/survivor’s fault.

How is Teen Dating Violence Impacting Our Youth?

Teen dating violence is a serious issue affecting youth across the country. It occurs across all backgrounds and identities and in all types of intimate relationships. Here are some statistics to gain a better sense of the issue:

20-30% of adolescents have indicated experiencing psychological abuse in the previous 18 months 5

– 1 in 5 female victims of stalking and 1 in 14 male victims of stalking reported experiencing this victimization when they were 11-17 years old 6

-4.7% of males and 11.9% of females surveyed in the 2015 Missouri Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported that they had been forced to engage in sexual intercourse 7

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study reported that 6.1-13.8% of heterosexual students, 19.1-29.2% of gay and lesbian students, and  17.7-28.0% of bisexual students had been physically injured by their dating partner in the previous year 8

-Teen girls who have experienced physical or sexual violence in an intimate relationship have reported elevated rates of substance abuse, pregnancy, attempted suicide, and potential risk for eating disorders 9

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:

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. Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. (n. d.). What is Teen Dating Violence (TDV)?. Retrieved from http://www.mocadsv.org/What-is-Teen-Dating-Violence-TDV/

 

  1. Loveisrespect.org. (2013). Is This Abuse? Types of Abuse. Retrieved from http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/types-of-abuse/#tab-id-1

 

  1. The National Domestic Violence Hotline. (n. d.). LGBTO Relationship Violence. Retrieved from http://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/lgbt-abuse/

 

  1. Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (2016). Teen Dating Violence Facts. Retrieved from http://www.icadvinc.org/prevention/for-youth-workers/teen-dating-violence-facts/

 

 

  1. National Institute of Justice. (2014). Prevalence of Teen Dating Violence. Retrieved from http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/intimate-partner-violence/teen-dating-violence/pages/prevalence.aspx

 

  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
  2. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. (2015). Health Risk Behaviors among Missouri Middle and High School Students: Results from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey and 2015 Youth Tobacco Survey. Retrieved from http://health.mo.gov/data/yrbss/pdf/2015report.pdf

 

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9–12 — Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, Selected Sites, United States, 2001–2009. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss60e0606.pdf

 

  1. Silverman, J. G., Raj, A., Mucci L. A., & Hathaway, J. E. (2001). Dating Violence Against Adolescent Girls and Associated Substance Use, Unhealthy Weight Control, Sexual Risk Behavior, Pregnancy, and Suicidality. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 286(5), 572-579. Retrieved from http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=194061

 

To Heal Our Communities, We Must Treat Each Other As Family

August 21, 2014

By Amy Hunter Director of Racial Justice,
YWCA Metro St. Louis

amy
                        Amy Hunter

What’s going on in Ferguson?

We have failed as a community to treat each other as kin. This is apparent in the way this incident was handled. If Mike Brown had been Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson’s son, he would still be alive. This is not about breaking the law, or being under the suspicion of breaking a law. Every adult, at some point of their lives, likely has broken the law, but it doesn’t have to cost a life. We have a judicial system to assess crime and punishment. The situation in Ferguson, where there is mistrust of that authority, exposes the issues that are deeper and more systemic, like failing educational systems, profiling, and the lack of trust between people that are different from one another. Today Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said there may be “bumps in the road” ahead. No doubt. How we navigate those “bumps” will be key.

Some of the media who covered my public remarks in Ferguson identified me as a “mother.” I am a mother; I am also the Director of Racial Justice for the YWCA Metro St. Louis. Racism is a social construct, and its defeat can be as well. I am encouraging everyone to reach for each other with love, as if we are connected and related. If we are going to learn from this incident, grow, and elevate our current disconnection, we are going to have to embrace, support, and handle each other as if we were related. In scholarship, this is called “fictive kinship,” meaning that, although we are not related, we are claiming each other as if we were in the same bloodline. As women, we do this with each other all the time: our best friends are often referred to as our sisters and our children even call them aunt. It happens with men, too.

If we are going to get through and beyond this, we are going to need to adopt this belief. It will dramatically change our actions and work toward healing. The world is watching, and it will take all of us to move forward in healing communities.

I don’t know Darren Wilson, so I am going to take some license that he is a good person who misjudged his response to the situation. If Mike Brown had been his biological son, he would have handled the situation much differently. Maybe he would have taken him to the police station and booked him, or talked sternly about the positive responsibilities of manhood.

If I apply this rule to myself and other mothers, Mike Brown could have been our son; in some ways, fictively he is my son. As a professional and as a mother, I never want to see a young person die from violence. Nor do I want tear gas, police dogs or swat teams used on U.S. citizens who are protesting.

The tragic events this week in Ferguson highlight the importance of the YWCA historically and today. We have much work to do in this community and others around the world to prevent these moments. We need the support of our community leaders, major corporations, supporters and families to fulfill the YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. A mother’s movement is a powerful force.

This incident has provided an opportunity for the YWCA to make a difference. We can take a stand against violence in any form, support grieving families, assist in peaceful demonstrations, and teach our youth to accomplish change through non-violent means. It has opened the dialogue about the need for more racial justice programming, like our Witnessing Whiteness groups to educate, inform, train and equip our white allies for social justice advocacy. Or our Mosaic Group, for people of color, to understand the impact of racism and to heal and work towards liberation from its harm and hurt. I have seen the good that honest communication in a safe space can accomplish. Together, we can change the world for the better.

As director of racial justice for YWCA Metro St. Louis, Amy Hunter is responsible for ensuring that eliminating racism, part of the YWCA’s two-prong mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, is incorporated in all of the organization’s internal and external programming. She serves as a representative of the YWCA in matters that address institutionalized and systemic oppression. She joined the YWCA in 2008; she has more than 15 years of experience in the corporate sector. She previously worked at Edward Jones in the area of diversity and served on the faculty for the Dismantling Racism Institute, a program of The National Conference for Community and Justice. Hunter has provided strategic direction for organizational development for universities, school districts and the corporate community. She has published works and is a presenter on issues of race and social justice throughout the United States and Canada.

Hunter is a native St. Louisian and is currently pursuing her PhD in Social Justice from the University of Missouri St. Louis. She has served on several boards and committees in St. Louis.

Hunter’s zeal and passion for creating an equitable society is unmatched. She is extremely busy being engrossed in her quest for equality while loving and being loved by her family.

“Show Me Collaboration”  – Click here to read Amy’s article in Essence Magazine 

 


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