By Be Smart. Be Well, Special for US Daily Review.
One in three adolescents has been hit, harassed, emotionally abused or digitally stalked by a romantic partner. Be Smart. Be Well. asked 15 middle school, high school and college students about their experiences with abusive relationships on-camera. The resulting video, Teens Start Talking, now available on BeSmartBeWell.com, is an honest and courageous look at the risks of being young and in love in today’s fast-paced technological world.
Teens Start Talking explores teens’ views of dating abuse and provides tips–straight from teens–for how young people can escape an abusive relationship or help a friend who is in one. Produced in collaboration with LoveisRespect.org, the video is a frank and hopeful discussion of teen abuse from the teen perspective.
“I would like to tell the young people who are in an abusive relationship that you aren’t alone. You can get help,” says a victim of teen dating abuse and one of the high school students featured in the new video.
Help teens recognize the signs
Sometimes teens can confuse controlling or abusive behavior with affection. “I thought it was normal and that what I was feeling, the sadness and the isolation, was something to be expected,” says one high school student in the video.
At BeSmartBeWell.com, teens urge their peers to be attuned to signs of abuse, and experts like Marjorie Gilberg, executive director of Break the Cycle, provide practical advice for parents and friends of teens who suspect abuse. Break the Cycle is a national non-profit organization devoted to preventing dating abuse among teens and young people.
“Don’t judge. Offer help. Let them know that you’re concerned for their safety. Let them know that you’re concerned for their health and well-being,” Gilberg says.
The most important thing teens can do is speak up, say the students featured on BeSmartBeWell.com. “I think it’s really important to be an active bystander. We need to be there to support each other,” says one college student who cares passionately about ending abuse. “Start talking.”
Throughout April, teens can go to Facebook.com/BeSmartBeWell to be a part of the Start Talking campaign. By sharing the candid, authentic videos with their friends, teens can make a difference by helping spread the word about dating abuse.
What can I do about it?
BeSmartBeWell.com/Domestic-Violence provides practical information to help teens and parents identify dating abuse and escape abusive relationships. Produced in collaboration with the National Dating Abuse Helpline/loveisrespect.org, BeSmartBeWell.com features:
- Conversations with real teens about teen abuse
- Interviews with leading experts
- Reputable resources and links for more information
- News and updates on dating abuse
- A quiz on digital abuse like “sexting”
At the site, visitors can also sign up for the monthly Spotlight Newsletter and News Alerts for in-depth articles and breaking news on dating abuse and other important health topics.
About Be Smart. Be Well.
BeSmartBeWell.com is sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Divisions of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
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