Today is “Taking it to the Streets” day for Strong Start, an organization dedicated to educating young people about healthy relationships and ending teen dating violence. Eleven organizations in Atlanta,, Austin, Boston, Bridgeport, the Bronx, Idaho, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Oakland, Providence, and Wichita will be helping spread the message about healthy relationships. According to the website, Start Strong is also encouraging people to join the conversation online – “We are asking for your best thinking, your best advice, your best observations to get this country learning about healthy relationships, how to have them, build them, keep them and ensure that violence and abuse are never tolerated.”
It’s great that Start Strong is doing this work and even greater that they’re taking it to the streets today during Domestic Violence Awareness Month to help people see that teen dating violence is truly related to domestic violence overall. A lot of the time we focus on the negative when trying to create awareness by telling people what they should NOT be doing or by showing them how jacked up their lives and relationships are. This campaign builds off of what many advocates know already and what President Obama said in his official National Domestic Violence month proclamation on Oct. 1:
During this month, we rededicate ourselves to breaking the cycle of violence. By providing young people with education about healthy relationships, and by changing attitudes that support violence, we recognize that domestic violence can be prevented. We must build the capacity of our Nation’s victim service providers to reach and serve those in need. We urge community leaders to raise awareness and bring attention to this quiet crisis. Together, we must ensure that, in America, no victim of domestic violence ever struggles alone.
Even amidst all this positivity, I’m kind of saddened. As a soon-to-be 28 year old woman (Nov 1!), I realize that neither I nor many of my peers know how to articulate the characteristics of a healthy relationship. So few of us have seen them or been in them. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll see that this is a true statement. How can we be mentors and teachers to young people starting out? Start Strong’s target audience is 11-14 year old boys and girls. Good, it’s not too early. Clearly we all needed some help learning how to love ourselves and one another in a supportive, encouraging, uplifting and healthy way. I’m going to keep an eye on this organization and I hope that you do too. Try following Start Strong on Twitter.
Here are ways that YOU can participate ONLINE on October 22nd. It’s easy and will only take a few minutes of your time:
- Give Start Strong your relationship feedback. They need to know what you know. Click Here to give your feedback!
- Post a conversation starter to your Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/yfxr7yl) or Twitter profile. This will have a major impact.