Categorized as: Sexual Assault Month

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Ah, February! As we eagerly anticipate the day of love, Valentine’s Day; let us not forget how many brokenhearted and abused girls there are in young relationships. This month, in addition to finding love, we encourage those to face new relationships with the ‘Love Me Pain Free’ mentality.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness about dating violence, promote programs that support young people, and encourage communities to prevent this form of abuse with the goal of decreasing the prevalence of dating violence among young people.

Here are a few facts about Teen Dating Violence:

  • 33% of adolescents in America are victim to sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse.
  • Teens who suffer dating abuse are subject to long-term consequences like alcoholism, eating disorders, promiscuity, thoughts of suicide, and violent behavior.
  • In the U.S., 25% of high school girls have been abused physically or sexually. Teen girls who are abused this way are 6 times more likely to become pregnant or contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
  • 50% of young people who experience rape or physical or sexual abuse will attempt to commit suicide.
  • Roughly 1.5 million high school boys and girls in the U.S. admit to being intentionally hit or physically harmed in the last year by someone they are romantically involved with.
  • 1 in 5 teens in a dating relationship report being hit, slapped, or pushed by their partner.

Divas In Defense provides teens with a college preparatory, self-defense workshop. The program is called On Her Own. The course includes the twelve elements of personal safety critical for this age group, including date rape drugs, jogging safety, safe parking lot strategies, social media net-iquette, on-campus violence, cyber stalkers and more. Young women enjoy and are empowered by our ten instinctive street fighting tools we teach.

Dating Violence Resources for Young People & Parents

Break the Cycle: Empowering Youth to End Domestic Violence
Striving to engage, educate and empower youth to build lives and communities free from domestic violence.

Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships
The Centers for Disease Control’s Dating Matters Initiative promotes healthy teen relationships in economically disadvantaged urban communities. The initiative includes an online training for youth workers and teachers.

Love Is Respect: National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
Providing resources for teens, parents, friends and family, Peer Advocates, government officials, law enforcement officials and the general public.

A Thin Line
Empowering youth to stop the spread of digital abuse.

Technology Safety Planning with Survivors
Help young survivors of teen dating violence make safer decisions online with safety planning tips sheets from the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean Vietnamese, Somali and Russian.

(Resource information courtesy of Family & Youth Services Bureau)

The Great “8” Spring Break Safety Tips

The Spring Break season is steadily approaching. This is the time where teens and family do lots of travelling. It is important for Spring Breakers to use caution and discretion when visiting different cities. Below are a list of tips provided to assist travelers to their vacation and back in the safest way possible.

  1.  Never leave valuables in plain view in your car. Lock items in your trunk before reaching your destination.
  2. Before leaving your hotel, take a card from the front desk with the name of the hotel, phone number, and address, just in case you need help getting back. Also, put this information in your phone to be extra sure you have it.
  3. All genuine taxis will have some sort of ID or badge. Check for this before accepting a ride.
  4. If you ever feel unsafe, it is completely within your rights to abandon a taxi or any other ride service at a safe stop. Leave money behind on the seat and get out of there if you don’t feel safe.
  5. Try to go the ATM in groups, but avoid getting overly complacent about safety just because you’re traveling in numbers.
  6. When entering in your pin number, use your other hand or your body to cover the keypad. Just because you don’t see someone watching you doesn’t mean there couldn’t still be a camera capturing what you type.
  7. When you check in at the front desk, use discretion in saying your room number out loud for anyone in the lobby to hear. No one outside of your group of friends needs to know your exact location.
  8. Always keep an eye on your drink. If you go the bathroom, take your drink with you! Date rape drugs can be put into any drink, including non-alcoholic drinks. It is also important to remember that while drugs being slipped into drinks is something you should be aware of and guard against, alcohol itself is the most common date rape drug. In a 2007 study by the National Institute of Health, it was reported that 89% of female undergrad sexual assault survivors reported drinking before their assault. No survivor is to blame for their assault, but the links between alcohol and victimization are staggering and cannot be ignored.

Justice For All

The month of May quietly, but swiftly, sneaked up on us. April brought us Sexual Assault Awareness Month as well as several interesting stories hovering through the news. In the last few days of April, 55 colleges throughout the U.S were named by the Department of Education as being under investigation for sexual assaults under Title IX. According to Title IX, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” Many of the colleges listed are some of the most prestigious schools in the country such as Vanderbilt University, Princeton University, Harvard College, and University of Southern California, to name a few. This is a huge step in the right direction seeing as one out of every four college females claims they survived an attempted or completed sexual assault during their time at a campus. It’s wonderful to see the most influential leaders of our country stepping up for women all across the country.  Even some celebrities are raising their voices on the issue:

Another recent development is the abduction of more than 250 school girls from a school in Nigeria. The world waits, holding its breath, to find out if these poor girls are safe. An Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. What can you do to help? Get on Twitter and use the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls to raise awareness on the subject and to give some comfort to the victim’s families that you support them and hope for their daughter’s/sister’s/friend’s safe return. It may not seem like a lot, but the families of these girls, who might even be your age, need your support and love.

Know Your Limits, Be Prepared

It’s crazy that the month of April is already here, huh? The bees are buzzing, flowers are blooming, and the trees seem to look less and less naked each day.  While April is one of my favorite months of the year because of its natural beauty, I also realized that it is Sexual Assault Awareness month.  According to https://www.rainn.org/statistics, “80% of sexual assault victims are under age 30.” That’s FOUR out of every FIVE people who have been through an attempted or completed assault by age 30.  When I think about all the things I want to accomplish by that time, I can’t imagine a sexual assault getting in the way.  Even if you have never been through something so traumatic, someone you know has.  Here are some tips to prevent and lessen your chances of sexual assault:

  • Avoid drinking/doing drugs at parties.  You don’t want your common sense to be hindered.

  • Be aware that many sexual assaults occur even when the victim knows the perpetrator.

  • Never leave cups of alcohol unattended at parties, as perpetrators may see this as an opportunity to slip a drug called Rohipnol, or roofies, into the drink unsuspectingly.

Remember that if you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted you can talk to a friend, parent, counselor, or police about the incident.  If you’d rather keep it private or need advice on how to take the next step, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673.

Divas in Defense on the Fantastic Voyage

In celebration of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, Divas in Defense had the opportunity to attend the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage Cruise. We met many women from all across the nation sharing their stories and promoting the need to discuss issues of sexual assault and violence against women. We had the opportunity to instruct 3 self defense classes to the women in attendance and loved every minute of it.

The fun didn’t stop there. Our COO, Cole Parker, was a panelist for the Health and Wellness Seminar sponsored by Wal-Mart. He shared the stage with Dr. Ro, award winning health journalist and nutrition coach, Dr. Robin Smith New York Times best-selling author and comedian Myra J. This seminar focused on living a healthier life by keeping stress down and eating healthier.

We had a great time and want to thank the entire Tom Joyner Staff for supporting us and providing us the opportunity to help save someone’s life.

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