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Are you in an unhealthy relationship and looking for information on how to stop domestic violence before it starts?
This website is a robust resource for information and resources. Click here to Get Help, Get Informed, Get Active.
Are you afraid you are hurting someone you love? Visit our page on programs to stop abuse. Click here.
If you would like to talk to someone, please call our 24/7 English/Spanish hotline at 415-924-6616.
Are you a parent or concerned adult looking for information on how to help young people?
Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime so we have a unique opportunity to help our young people stop domestic violence before it starts. Domestic violence is a learned behavior, rooted in the idea that one person has a need to control and coerce their partner to feel better about themselves. So how can we support young people to have healthy and equal partnerships?
We invite you to have conversations about healthy relationships!
When children are growing up, parents and guardians are there to help them learn and explore the world around them. Children learn in many different ways from their parents and guardians, from watching what you do to learning through important conversations you have together. One important lesson that is often not discussed in a youth and young adult’s life is how to have a healthy dating relationship or explore what is means to be a good partner when they are first exploring the dating world. We invite you to start a conversation with your children about how to have healthy and equal relating skills in dating so they have the best start of success to have healthy relationships free of dating abuse and domestic violence.
Here are some helpful tools and tricks to help you start this conversation with the youth and young adults in your life.
How to start a discussion:
It can be hard to start a conversation with youth and young adults about dating and sex but they are often curious to learn about these things and look to other avenues (internet, pornography, social media influences, etc.) to get their answers that can provide unhealthy and inaccurate information if we don’t have these discussions. It’s as simple as inviting them into a discussion…try asking:
1. Question: I’m sure your friends and classmates are talking about dating and hooking up these days. What do you think goes into a healthy dating relationship?
Guide the Discussion: Communication, trust, treating your partner as equal in value.
2. Question: How would you know if someone you are dating or hooking up with is not treating you well or in a healthy way?
Guide the Discussion: They act superior to you (talking down to you, makes you feel jealous on purpose, manipulates you), they think you are a possession (they tell you what to wear, tell you what to do, pressure you to do things sexually when you don’t feel ready), and rigid gender roles (thinks girls should do the cooking/cleaning, things boys should be tough and strong, boys make all the rules in the relationship, girls should be submissive and weak).
3. Questions: What do you think it would look like to get consent from someone you’d like to hook up with? Or for them to get consent from you? How should someone check-in to make sure there is positive consent before doing anything sexually?
Guide the Discussion: Ask them what they feel comfortable doing or trying. Say something like, “I would like to try (something sexual), and wanted to see how you felt about it? Is that something you feel comfortable trying with me?” and checking in along the way by saying “just wanted to check in to see how you are feeling? Is what we are doing ok with you?”
Getting consent from someone should positive, enthusiastic and ongoing, meaning you should continuously check in with your partner to make sure they are feeling positive about what is happening. If you don’t receive positive, enthusiastic and ongoing consent then you don’t have consent and you need to stop.
4. Question: Pressure from your friends and peers can be very intense sometimes to partake in behavior that could be harmful to someone else (ie: bullying/hazing, pressures to go further sexually when you don’t feel ready, sharing of non-consensual sexual images, drug/alcohol). What are some things you think you might be able to do?
Guide the Discussion: Is someone is pressuring you to do things that make you uncomfortable please feel free talk to an adult you trust and trust your instincts. If you think that something is wrong, you’re probably right. If you see something happening that may impact someone negatively, try using one of the 3D’s (delegate, distract or be direct). You can safely step in and speak up to help by delegating, meaning you can go get a teacher or a parent to help. You can also cause a distraction to defuse the situation, like accidentally dropping your books or break a glass to help someone get away or draw attention away from something or someone. Lastly, you can be direct by addressing the inappropriate behavior directly with the person.
5. Question: If you or one of your friends had questions about healthy relationships or consent, who would you feel comfortable talking to about this?
Guide the Discussion: Talk to your school counselors, teachers, coaches and mentors. You can also contact Center for Domestic Peace text line at 415-526-2557 or contact our Marin Against Youth Abuse (MAYA) program manager, Jonathan Deras who can help.
Violence is related to certain risk factors. The risk of having unhealthy relationships increases for teens who:
- Believe that dating violence is acceptable
- Are depressed, anxious, or have other symptoms of trauma
- Display aggression towards peers or display other aggressive behaviors
- Use drugs or illegal substances
- Engage in early sexual activity and have multiple sexual partners
- Have a friend involved in teen dating violence
- Have conflicts with a partner
- Witness or experience violence in the home
Click here to learn more about how to get help from Center for Domestic Peace or call or text our Marin Youth Services Help Line: 415.526.2557 M-F, 9am-5pm
Several other great resources and information above borrowed from:
Love is Respect: https://www.loveisrespect.org/
One Love’s Breakup Guide PDF: Breakup Planning Guide
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/teendatingviolence/fastfact.html