Contributed By Claire Lisco
“Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month? Now That’s Something Serious” ~ These were the words of a Meadowcreek High School student as she walked by a resource table during her lunch period on Valentine’s Day. February 14th is commonly associated with dating relationships, but what makes this year unique is that it was also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM)’s annual Wear Orange Day. Wear Orange Day encourages students to wear orange and decorate their surroundings orange to raise awareness about healthy relationships and dating violence.
In honor of Wear Orange Day, Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV)’s Teens Against Dating Violence (TADV) Advisory Board members facilitated events in their representative high schools to raise awareness and take a stand against dating violence.
At Meadowcreek High School, Craig, TADV Advisory Board member and Meadowcreek High School student emphasized, “I wear orange because I am against teen dating violence and want to promote good and positive relationship skills so that this conflict is eliminated…Every individual deserves to be loved and find love and stay happy. So as a strong representative and supporter of this month, I say HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!”
In keeping with his message, Craig orchestrated a resource and activities table where students in every lunch period were encouraged to discuss why wearing orange and standing up against dating violence is important. Collectively, a Valentine’s Day letter to all teens was constructed with bits and pieces of individual student messages combined into one.
“Dear Valentine, Friend, Fellow Student:
You deserve to be treated fairly,
To be loved and have happiness,
To be free,
And, to wait for the right one.
You deserve trust, honesty, kindness, and respect.
You are the peanut butter and jelly to my bread <3 <3 <3…
You deserve the right to be respected and loved in the right way <3.
Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it…
I wish you were with me, but if not, I hope you’ll be happy!
Always love someone that cares about you…
Never hurt who you love…
If pain is given then choose the right path that is not pain.
I love YOUR HAIR!
You deserve to laugh!
You deserve to be treated right.
You always deserve the best, so choose the right people to be with…
Be loyal and faithful to one another…
Always stay beautiful <3…
You don’t deserve the world, you deserve the universe…
I love you…You are loved!”
With #Orange4Love, Meadowcreek Teens
Brooke, TADV Advisory Board member and Cross Keys High School student, also led a number of Wear Orange Day activities at her school. She promoted her events via social media posts across groups she is active in at her school. In one of her posts, Brooke wrote:
“1 in 10 high school students have been purposefully hit, slapped or physically abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend. That doesn’t even include sexual, verbal, and mental abuse. February 13th through 17th is love and respect week. In addition, February is teen dating violence awareness month represented by the color orange. With us being teens ourselves we need to be firm activist of this cause, please don’t ignore the signs or the abuse. If you want more information go to: Padv.org Loveisrespect advocate at 1-866-331-9474 or text ‘loveis’ to 22522. Loveisrespect.org If you want to get more involved find me. If you or someone you know needs help go the counseling office.”
Stay tuned for more photos and details of activities facilitated by PADV’s TADV Advisory Board members throughout February by visiting our website and teen scene social media pages.
Claire Lisco is a Teen Empowerment Advocate with the Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV). PADV is the largest nonprofit domestic violence organization in Georgia, and since 1977, has worked passionately to end the crime of intimate partner violence and empower its survivors. For more information call 404-870-9600 or visit www.padv.org.