Eyes Wide Open – YWCA’s Relationship Awareness Program for Teens

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Fifteen year-old “Alex” and her boyfriend had been on-again, off-again for three years. The late-night texts and phone calls, the constant fighting and breaking up – it was exhausting. But he kept telling her, “I can’t live without you,” and she couldn’t help but to keep coming back.

We have a tendency to think of abuse against girls to come at the hands of an adult. And, we all see relationships like Alex’s and tend to attribute the intensity to hormones or puberty. But oftentimes, there’s something else going on, hidden from the eyes of parents and teachers:

Teen dating violence far exceeds the rates of all other types of youth violence. One in three American teenagers will experience dating violence in her or his relationship, and about two-thirds of those teens in abusive relationships will never tell anyone. These statistics don’t even reflect the number of teens who do not understand that what they are experiencing is abuse.

When YWCA Northeast Indiana’s Community Education Coordinator came to her class to talk about healthy relationships, Alex didn’t realize that what she was experiencing was dating abuse. The jealousy, the possessiveness, the isolation from her friends, even the threats of suicide, she thought were romantic. She thought, “This is what you do when you love someone.”

But YWCA Northeast Indiana’s certified Eyes Wide Open… relationship awareness© training made her realize what was really happening in her relationship. And after spending some one-on-one time talking with our Community Education Coordinator, Alex realized that consciously spending time apart from her boyfriend, ignoring his texts, and hanging out with friends she had long been isolated from, brought her a sense of relief.

Getting out of her relationship allowed Alex to become herself again, and hopefully prevented her from experiencing the long-term effects of teen dating violence. (Aside from physical harm, violent relationships in adolescence put teens at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, and further domestic violence.)

These destructive relationships during the teen years can also lead to a lifelong pattern of violent relationships. According to the CDC, among adult victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner 22 percent of women and 15 percent of men first experienced some sort of dating violence as teenagers.

YWCA Northeast Indiana helps over 5,000 women, children, and men annually who have been victims of domestic violence, and offers programs that are certified under Heather’s Law to teach teens the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships. We go into hundreds of classrooms and youth groups each year, and we hear stories directly from teenagers. And we are proud to be a part of One Billion Rising Fort Wayne because it gives us the opportunity to spread awareness of these stories. Stories like Alex’s.

So, what can you do?

Talk with the teens in your life about the characteristics of healthy relationships, and the signs of unhealthy ones. Keep your eyes open for changes in behavior, such as disruptive text messages and phone calls, depression, withdrawal and anxiety, which may be signs of an unhealthy relationship. Act on your hunches.

And, if you need help, know that YWCA Northeast Indiana is here to help all victims of dating and domestic violence. Our website (www.ywca.org/NEIN) is a wealth of information and our Crisis Line operates 24/7/365. Call us at (800) 441-4073.

As a community we need to respond to and work toward ending teen dating violence by supporting the efforts of schools, communities, and organizations like YWCA Northeast Indiana, to empower teens to develop healthy relationships.

One in three American teens will experience dating violence. Will your teen be the one?

YWCA Kicks Off Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  The YWCA kicked off the month by bringing educators, students, and organizations together and arming them with their comprehensive toolset.  The YWCA’s set of resources has been recognized as a model for other communities.

For more information – for parents, educators, leaders and students – visit their website.

Our Charity Partners Address the Cause ALL YEAR LONG

One Billion Rising Fort Wayne is just a one-day event.  We raise some awareness that day for the cause of stopping violence against women and girls.  Sure, we may also gain a bit of awareness for the cause in the weeks before and after the event.

But …

The real heroes are the organizations that work on the cause each and every day of the year.  They are our charity partners.  All 1BRFW event proceeds will benefit them, to help them better carry on their excellent work.  Let’s hear it for …

Let’s Help the YWCA Find 100 Good Men!

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On July 17, at Parkview Field, the YWCA will be celebrating 100 Good Men from our community.  We just need to find them all first, and that’s where you come in!

Go to the YWCA website and nominate a Good Man (or two, or three, or … well, you get the idea).  What does that entail?  Three things.

  1. Find a Good Man.  You probably know a bunch of them.  Who are “Good Men”?  They are those men from our community who “exemplify the YWCA’s Mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.”
  2. Write the nomination.  You need some info who about who he is, but especially a little blurb about WHY you’ve nominated him.  The form is online.
  3. Sponsor your nominee.  Hey, a Good Man is well worth a $25 nomination, right?

Well, there’s really a fourth thing.  Get him to the game!  The celebration will occur at the TinCaps home game July 17 (he’ll get a ticket from the YWCA), and the 100 Good Men will be celebrated at 7:00 pm in a pre-game ceremony.  We think you should come too and bring your camera!  We may just arrange an OBRFW photo opp.

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week – April 21 – 27

National Crime Victims' Rights Week

Crime Victim Care of Allen County has forward us information about the activities of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.  For more information visit their website at http://cvcin.org.

View or download the …

  1. Schedule of Events here:  NCVRWeventsCVC
  2. Luncheon Invitation here: CVC Luncheon Invitation
  3. Women’s Self Defense Seminar Info here: Women’s Self Defense SeminarCrimeWeek-1
  4. Zumbathon Info here: ZumbathonCrimeWeekfinal
  5. Essay Contest Info here: High School Guidelines and here: College Guidelines

 

Coming April 12 – Center for Nonviolence’s Annual Potluck & Friends Thank You Night

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Does an evening of fun, friends, and food sound good to you?  What if we add in a discussion of the nonviolent lifestyle?  And then cap it off with some great music by Jessica Crew?

OK, one more thing – you aren’t required to bring a dish to share, but you are certainly welcome to show off your culinary skills if you like.  We will absolutely eat up whatever you’d like to bring!

Please RSVP to Maureene.  See you there!

Our YWCA – Helping Over 4,000 Crisis Line Calls Annually

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One Billion Rising is an important moment for the city of Fort Wayne. As a community, we are standing together to celebrate those who have survived violence, while saying with a unified voice that enough is enough. For this reason, YWCA Northeast Indiana is proud to stand by the One Billion Rising Fort Wayne movement as a Resource Partner.

Women come to YWCA Northeast Indiana in times of crisis, because of domestic violence. Annually, our Crisis Line receives over 4,000 calls and we provide services to over 1,500 women and children. These women come for emotional support and empowerment.  They come for help in finding childcare, job training, and a better education.  They come for a variety of reasons. But they come. And they leave with a renewed spirit, new skills, and stronger lives.

Our entire community is affected by domestic violence and the community benefits derived from our services are both immediate and long-term. We are committed to reducing the number of domestic violence incidents in our community and to improving the future of the women, men, and children exposed to it.

That is why YWCA Northeast Indiana is proud to strike, dance, and rise up with the rest of the Fort Wayne community to show that we are serious about ending violence against women. We look forward to seeing you on February 14!

Learn more about YWCA Northeast Indiana by visiting www.ywca.org/NEIN or by calling (260) 424-4908. Our Crisis Line can also be reached 24/7 at (260) 447-7233 or (800) 441-4073.

Why the Center for Nonviolence Works With Men Who Abuse

Short Answer:  to Promote Love and Respect for Women and Children

So why do we work with men who abuse women?  Because they are men that we all know, they are our fathers, brothers, uncles, they are men we attend church with, or we buy our groceries from.  These are men who become involved in intimate relationships with that people that we care about.  We work with them and we live along side of them.  They date our friends our daughters and they raise the next generation.  Ignoring them (these men) means to turn our back on all the people who will cross paths with them throughout the rest of their lives.

It is rather astounding that boys in our society are expected to learn about all of the mysteries of business, industry and sport, but are not even asked to learn about the mind of a woman or the cause-and-effect of a good intimate relationship. Boys are taught all of the fine points of team-building. Boys are encouraged to learn how engines work and how to take care of an automobile. Boys learn that a car must be washed and waxed not just once, but regularly, and that the oil must be changed over and over. However, boys are not systematically taught to understand how women think. Boys are seldom encouraged to consider the maintenance of a life-long marriage. Boys think girls are emotional, idealistic and romantic; yet boys turn into men who believe, idealistically, that relationships magically happen, that a woman can continue to love a man for a lifetime, even if he remains silent, unresponsive, emotionally illiterate, and, in some cases, abusive.

One of our programs introduces men to the notion that a relationship requires at least as much effort to maintain as an automobile. The fact that women and children are living beings with free will does not take away from the reality that there are certain predictable outcomes in relationships based upon our behavior. It matters whether we try hard to nurture and honor relationships, or whether we neglect and despise them. “Love and respect” is not a gift that descends upon us without effort. I am responsible for bringing love into my own home and for offering unconditional respect to my family. It is hopelessly romantic of me to believe I am entitled to love if I’m unwilling to give respect. The presence of “love and respect” is, in part, a man-made creation.

To achieve this creation, there is work and effort involved that the Center bases on our definition of nonviolence.  We define nonviolence in two ways:  “ A lifestyle based on love, truth and community, and speaking up for the truth in ways that do not hurt or control others.”

– by John Beams and the Center for Nonviolence


The Center for Nonviolence provides services to men, women, and youth who have used violence as well as support services for women and children who have been victims of violence or abuse.  For more information, please visit http://www.centerfornv.org  or call 260-456-4112.

Immigrant Women Face Special Abuse Issues

Crime Victim Care of Allen County works with diverse populations. This makes it necessary to understand abuse in other cultures.

CVC has found and provided a wonderful resource on their website for a better understanding of abuse of immigrant women. In an article, entitled Immigrants find new legal paths out of abuse from The Washington Post, a wonderful perspective is given of immigrant women who fear deportation if they speak up against abuse.  Within this article are great resources from Women’s Health for information about violence against women.

We cannot stand by and let these women suffer in silence!

Jordan Crouch, Crime Victim Care of Allen County


Links:

Washington Post article

Women’s Health article

CVC of Allen County

4 Local Nonviolence Organizations To Participate

Four well known local organizations have signed on to participate in One Billion Rising Fort Wayne to raise awareness for this collective issue that affects the lives of so many residents.

“In 2012 over 4000 calls were received at the YWCA Northeast Indiana from women, men and children in crisis due to domestic violence,” said Mary Jo Hardiman, Director of Community Programs, YWCA of Northeast Indiana.

  1. The YWCA of Northeast Indiana
  2. Center for Nonviolence
  3. Women’s Bureau
  4. Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center

One Billion Rising Fort Wayne attendees will receive resources and educational materials focused on preventing violence, treating victims and healing survivors.


Read or download the complete press release: One Billion Rising Fort Wayne press release