RCASA’s Tuesday Promising Programs: Choose Respect

In Sexual Assault Awareness on October 12, 2010 at 10:30 am

Launched nationally in May 2006, CDC’s Choose Respect initiative has come a long way in a short time. Findings from the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicated that approximately one in 11 high school students reported being victims of physical dating violence during the 12 months preceding the survey, equating to nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide (1). Those victimized by a dating partner were more likely to engage in episodic heavy drinking, suicide attempts, physical fighting, and current sexual activity (1).

Recently the initiative was awarded the CINE Golden Eagle Award for the public service announcement (PSA) Just Talk.

Just Talk targets parents by encouraging them to learn about dating abuse, talk to their kids about how dating abuse can happen, and teach their kids how to choose respect in all their relationships. In English, Just Talk is available in 30- and 60-second lengths.

Choose Respect is an initiative that seeks to help adolescents form healthy relationships to prevent dating abuse before it starts. The initiative reaches out to adolescents, ages 11 to 14, at a time when they are still forming attitudes and beliefs that will affect how they are treated and how they treat others. The initiative also connects with parents, teachers, youth leaders, and other caregivers who influence the lives of young teens.

Dating violence in adolescents also has been linked to lifelong patterns of violence that carry over into other relationships (2). Healthy relationship skills can have a beneficial effect on the ability of adolescents to prevent dating violence (2).

Choose Respect provides information and support for communities seeking to foster a “Culture of Respect.” Focusing on adolescents between the ages of 11 and 14, Choose Respect provides educational information for the development of healthy relationships, skills for managing conflict, anger, and jealousy without violence.

Choose Respect encourages the early development of healthy attitudes, behaviors, and skills (e.g., negotiation or compromise) to help youth interact positively and treat others with respect. The initiative tools are designed to complement other community prevention strategies to change social norms and encourage healthy relationships.


  1. CDC. Physical dating violence among high school students—United States, 2003. MMWR 2006;55:532–5.
  2. Wekerle C, Wolfe DA. Dating violence in mid-adolescence: theory, significance, and emerging prevention initiatives. Clin Psychol Rev 1999;19:435–56.

The currciculm from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Choose Respect Campaign contains a DVD of two video programs and materials CD, with a Choose Respect discussion guide, PowerPoint slides, and appendices. These activities will motivate participants to come up with ways to promote healthy and respectful relationships in their community.

Choose Respect DVD – Causing Pain: Real Stories of Dating Abuse and Violence, is an award-winning program. This program features true stories of youth, parents, and professionals who have been in, or witnessed, abusive relationships. The video utilizes their experiences and insights so that youth and parents can recognize and prevent dating abuse in their own lives, or in the lives of others.

  • Adult version: 30 minute program
  • Youth version: 13 minute program

Causing Pain: Real Stories of Dating Abuse and Violence Discussion Guide CD

The discussion guide, and accompanying PowerPoint presentation, helps participants recall specific scenes and generate thoughtful conversations about indentifying warning signs and preventing abusive relationships. The discussion guide includes: background for session leaders, helpful hints for addressing the subject of dating abuse and violence, instructions for facilitating group discussions, and interactive activities.

  • Section One provides session leaders with the facts about dating abuse, healthy relationships, and helps with presentation and discussion preparation
  • Section Two aids in outlining the differences in presenting Choose Respect to a youth or adult group, and demonstrates how to get the discussion flowing with an icebreaker, setting ground rules for discussion, and presenting an overview of the Choose Respect initiative
  • Section Three gives participants a chance to talk about the characters in the video and the overall topic of dating abuse and healthy relationships through activities to promote Choose Respect

PowerPoint Presentation– Provides everything a presenter needs to engage the audience in conversation surrounding the components of Choose Respect and promote dialogue about healthy and positive relationships

Dating Abuse and Violence Discussion Handouts and Worksheets

The Causing Pain: Real Stories of Dating Abuse & Violence video is a recipient of two FREDDIE Awards for its content, educational value, originality and production quality, and was also nominated for an Emmy Award.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Carol Olson, RCASA. RCASA said: RCASA's Tuesday Promising Programs: Choose Respect: http://wp.me/pAwr3-tu […]

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