February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Chrysalis has long invested in a variety of violence prevention and awareness efforts and the organizations that deliver these services in Greater Des Moines. In 2013, Chrysalis partnered with Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines to create GirlPower, a Chrysalis After-School program intervention component that focuses on reducing dating and relationship violence among girls. Each year, Brooke Findley, Chrysalis Director of Community Initiatives and Investments, trains a team of 15 high school mentors to deliver lessons on healthy relationships and violence prevention to elementary and middle school girls currently enrolled in Chrysalis After-School programs. Our evaluations have proven GirlPower is a tremendously effective way to teach adolescent girls about how to avoid dating violence, as well as helping them develop self-confidence and resilience skills to avoid future problems and know how to safely handle challenges that arise in their lives.

Why is this program so important?  February marks national Teen Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, elevated by these statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • 1 in 3 adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse by a dating partner (marking the highest rate of youth violence)
  • 1 in 10 high school students has been physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend; 43% of dating college women report experiencing abusive and violent dating behavior
  • Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence (triple the national average)
  • Violent behavior most often begins between the ages of 12 and 18
  • The severity of intimate partner violence is greater in cases where the pattern of abuse was established in adolescence

One initiative that has received a Webby Award (an award program created by our 2018 INSPIRED Event speaker, Tiffany Shlain!) is working to help young people recognize and prevent or stop dating violence is That’s Not Cool. An example of one of their public service videos: When Does Caring Become Controlling?

Many other national organizations are moving the message of awareness and prevention along, particularly during the month of February.  They have selected the theme for 2018 to be Hands Unite: Do Your Part, and are marking Respect Week (February 12-16) with a series of activities including Wear Orange Day, February 13, encouraging everyone to wear something orange to promote unity in ending dating violence.

The national awareness around sexual assault and violence has raised the level of recognition dramatically. GirlPower and Chrysalis After-School programs have proven success in preventing this problem in the first place. It’s our best investment to smart girls become strong women, and we are proud to have done so for thousands of girls since we created Chrysalis After-School in 1998.

Chrysalis invests 100% of all donations into our community programs, the largest of which is Chrysalis After-School. Thank you for considering joining us in this important work.