Emma attended LifeWire’s healthy relationships class as part of the 10th-grade health curriculum at her high school. She didn’t know anything about DV or dating violence before the presentation. But as she listened, she realized that her friend Becca might be living in a house where DV was occurring. One slide in the presentation shared tips about how to talk to a friend who might be experiencing DV. After class, Emma spoke to one of our staff members and then used the advice to reach out to her friend. Becca was glad that Emma asked about what was happening at home and found it helpful to talk to someone who listened without shame or blame.
Emma and Becca both started coming to the student leadership group that LifeWire facilitates at their school. Becca found support from peers who care about DV issues and understand the challenges of coping with these issues during the pandemic. Emma was surprised to learn how many kids are impacted by DV and dating violence and was excited to learn that DV is preventable.
Emma says, “As I talk to more students about their experiences with DV and dating violence, I become more passionate about wanting to prevent it.” She was elected president of the leadership group for 2021 and is working to reach and involve new groups of kids at her high school in the movement.
We promote healthy relationships
LifeWire partners with area high schools, Bellevue College, and UW Bothell to provide young people with the tools they need to build healthy relationships and identify unhealthy behaviors. We also mentor athletic coaches and student leaders to foster informed youth communities that feel empowered to prevent violence.
More young people need skills to build healthy relationships. Help us expand to additional high schools and colleges.
Thanks to your support, last year:
796 High school and college students learned about dating violence and healthy relationships.
4,103 Community members learned about domestic violence and LifeWire’s services.
Dating abuse is a big problem in the U.S. One in 3 teens will experience dating violence, and 1 in 5 will experience severe physical violence from a dating partner. The numbers are even higher for LGBTQ youth. Young people who experience dating violence are more likely than their peers to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, engage in unhealthy or antisocial behaviors, and think about suicide.
The easiest way to stop dating or domestic violence is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Everyone can help prevent violence, including parents, teachers, clergy, coaches, friends, and family.
We put together three things you can do to help prevent dating violence.
After class, Serena approached LifeWire’s Youth Advocate to talk about what she’d learned from LifeWire’s presentation on healthy relationships. Her voice shook with emotion as she spoke. Serena explained that her older brother Simon had been in an abusive relationship a few years before.
Safe and healthy families are the key to ensuring safe and vibrant communities. We each have the power to change our culture of violence to one of kindness and compassion through words and our actions. Here are ways you can help build a world free from violence, where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
On a cold February morning, a dozen Eastside high school students arrived in Olympia. They were excited to participate in Domestic Violence Advocacy Day for the first time. The members of GOVAA (Gender Orientated Violence Advocacy and Activism), an after-school club at Interlake High School, all share a deep commitment to supporting survivors of gender-based violence and promoting healthy relationships within their school and communities. Many have experienced domestic violence in their own families or watched friends struggle with dating violence and unhealthy relationships. They were eager to tell their stories and, as one student shared, “change the world.”
In the morning, the students gathered with DV advocates from across the state to learn about legislation affecting survivors. Many of the youth were surprised by how many of the bills aimed at preventing homelessness and addressing poverty would also help survivors of domestic violence. By the time they met with their representatives, the students felt energized to “improve the lives of our community members.”
Their enthusiasm was contagious. After sharing their personal stories about gender-based violence and how violence impacted their family and friends, a legislative aide told LifeWire’s Social Change Manager, “they are powerful.”
Young people have a tremendous ability to shift culture if we empower them. The youth only spent a day in Olympia, but it had ripple effects in the community and their lives. Several of the bills the youth advocated for became law, increasing protections for survivors and low-income families. GOVAA is looking for other ways to enact policy changes on the Eastside. And one of the students has decided to run for student body office next year.
Team Up Washington recognizes that high school athletic coaches and mentors play an extremely influential role in the lives of young people. Because of the time they spend with student-athletes and the relationships they develop, coaches and mentors are uniquely poised to positively influence how young people think and behave, on and off the field.
Bailey seemed tentative when she approached the LifeWire advocate. The sophomore health class had just finished an hour and a half training on domestic and teen dating violence. Working in pairs, the students acted out different dating scenarios designed to teach them how to recognize the warning signs of unhealthy relationships. Bailey told the LifeWire advocate that she recognized several of these signs in her own relationship.
She had been dating a boy at her Eastside high school for several months. Over time, he became increasingly controlling. He checked her texts, demanded she spend time with him, and refused to listen when Bailey tried to break up with him. But, because he had never hit her or yelled at her, Bailey hadn’t considered their relationship unhealthy.
For twenty minutes Bailey talked with the LifeWire advocate about how to approach the break-up she planned for the next day. Together, they created a safety plan, discussing where the break-up would take place and how she would get support from friends and family.
Thanks to partnerships with local high schools, colleges, and universities, LifeWire uses innovative exercises to engage students like Bailey and provide them with the skills they need to have healthy relationships. These trainings also open the door for students to talk about domestic or teen dating violence and receive the support they need to live healthy lives.