Monday I went to a training on “Safe Dates”– Adolescent Dating Abuse Prevention Curriculum– by the Hazelden Foundation. This is the curriculum we most use with high schools.(We use Choose Respect with middle schools, more on that next week!)
Safe dates helps young people recognize the difference between healthy, caring, and supportive relationships, and controlling, manipulative, and abusive dating relationships. Highly engaging and interactive, Safe Dates gets young people thinking about:
- how they want to be treated by a dating partner
- how they want to treat a girlfriend or boyfriend
- what abusive dating relationships look like
- why dating abuse happens and its causes and consequences
- how to tell if they are in an abusive relationship
- what to do about feelings of anger and jealousy
- how to help a friend who might be in an abusive relationship
From Hazelden Website
Safe Dates, proven to be effective with both boys and girls, addresses perpetrators of violence as well as victims. It works as both a prevention and intervention tool, with case studies and activities that are relevant for teens who have not started dating as well as those who have been “going out” for a long time.
We have been using parts of this curriculum in schools this year. Two of my favorite exercises are “dating bingo” and “Caring People”.
Dating Bingo is a game where you have a bingo card of attributes of a dating partner (for example: honest, supportive, good looking, funny, rich) and you chose you five most important, then you move around the room exchanging signatures on the card of others who have chosen one of the same attributes. The first to collect all five signatures wins! It is for a lot of teens the first time they actually thought of what exactly they want!
“Caring People” is a written exercise where the kids list five people who care about them, then they take their time listing what it is these people do that let them know they care. Common answers are that they listen, are supportive, trustworthy, affectionate, know them well, accept them unconditionally, and give them time. This gets them really thinking about what caring (healthy) relationships are all about!
The Session that is closest to my heart is “Preventing Sexual Assault”. This 50 minute session includes units on Understanding Sexual Assault, Confronting Victim Blaming, Interpreting Cues, Precautions, and Dating Safely. As with all the units, it is very interactive and helps the youth fully understand and form healthy attitudes about violence and relationships.
This is just one of the many subjects available for training/presentation by RCASA. Please contact us if you have a group that would like to learn more from this or any other curriculum! We would love to carry the message of Prevention to anyone and everyone in our community!
Contact RCASA at (540)371-6771. If you need Hotline assistance, please call (540)371-5502 24 hours a day/7 days a week. See our website at www.rcasa.org