Our AWARE® workshop facilitators visit dozens of congregations, schools and camps each year and work with hundreds of young people. For this blog post, we wanted to give some of our participants a chance to speak for themselves and share what they get out of our workshops.
Today's quotes are from students at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, MD.
"Before the workshop, I thought there was verbal abuse and physical abuse. In my scenario a girl was being harassed if she did not text her new girlfriend. It never occurred to me that that would count as abuse, but it does...some people don't know right from wrong, in respects to now they are treated if they have been in an abusive relationship and that is all they know. I thought it showed that when 'Emma' even said she didn't know how girl-girl relationships worked so she thought the excessive texting was just a part of normal relationships."Food for Thought: Where is the line for you between texting as a way to communicate and as an unhealthy tool to harass or control someone else?
I know from my relationship, it is hard to make yourself see it's abusive because your boyfriend/girlfriend could be very good at being nice in between the abusive behavior. My parents didn't know how to help me so they gave me a hard time and tried to force me to see it by yelling and forcing me to end it and ban me from seeing/talking outside of school. This didn't help me see it. Luckily I had my therapist and friends. Finally, after getting back [together] and breaking up [again and again] for 8 months [then we broke up for good.] This workshop really helped me realize it was abusive. It took me until just recently to really see that.Food for Thought: Where is the line for you between texting as a way to communicate and as an unhealthy tool to harass or control someone else?
The most informative piece of information that I was able to take away from the workshop is that I have the right to say 'no.' I can change my mind if I want. I can control my own body. I have the right to set my own limits and have those limits respected. I also have the right to not be psychologically hurt by anyone, including friends, family members, dates, or strangers.
Food for Thought: If you had to make a list of dating rights, similar to this, what would yours include?
We are very grateful that these teens were willing to share their stories and their experiences with us. Want to bring an AWARE workshop to your school, youth group, or camp? It's easy! Just contact Leah Siskin at firstname.lastname@example.org!