February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month, right in time for ICADV to launch a state-level, youth-centered, violence prevention advisory council to engage young people in the cultural change needed to keep violence from happening in the first place. Teens are encouraged to apply here to work on making our communities safer. The application will be open on a rolling basis, with the first cohort beginning in March. The council will center connection, collaboration, skill building, and influencing the decisions that most affect young people.
This February, we encourage those invested in addressing teen dating violence to explore Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence’s In Right Relationship campaign. Campaign materials are free on their website: www.engagingvoices.org. Centered in the In Right Relationship Campaign are: Authenticity, Empathy, Care for Each Other, Consent, Shared Power, and Mindfulness.
At ICADV, we know that promoting healthy relationships for teens begins with building protective environments, environments that make the healthy and safe behavior the easy behavior. The abuse and control embedded in teen dating violence is rooted in patterns that reinforce power-over dynamics. In our youth engagement work, we aim to build and model power-with dynamics. Using Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence’s frame of “right relationships,” we have an opportunity to look at how we as decision makers act in relationship to the power we hold, particularly when it comes to influencing the environments surrounding young people.