As part of Project DOT’s prevention initiative, mentors set out to underserved communities in New York City to discuss important topics that older children and teens aren’t talking about enough at home and in formal settings. In order to engage in language and ideas that children and teens are thinking about and actively dealing with on a day to day basis, youth leaders focused on healthy relationships, the bystander effect, and consent.
During a series of workshops the kids expressed their thoughts through artwork, and various other activities on situations they’ve encountered. Below kids and teens in the Latinx community detailed the messages they want people to know they’re actively thinking about.
#Everybodytoldme rough sex is wavy, but #nobodytoldme to check in with my baby. #Communicationiskey
Rough sex may be talked up in pop songs as the best thing about sex but everyone doesn’t like it rough. Rough sex might be your thing but it might not be your partner’s. Keep in mind that sex feels and looks different on everyone. Even if your partner doesn’t vocalize that they don’t like rough sex, doesn’t mean they’re enjoying it. Try to be perceptive and read body language during sex. Most importantly, check in verbally so you know for sure what they like before, during and after.
#Everybodytoldme to mind my business but #Nobodytoldme that I can distract my friend and take them out of a situation where they’re facing public abuse
There’s only one “d” in the bystander effect but did you know there’s actually three d’s? In order to overcome being a bystander in a potentially dangerous situation and provide support in an intervention you should keep in mind the three d’s:
- Direct – Give commands or orders
- Distract – Divert a friend’s attention from a harmful situation
- Delegate – Get the attention of someone else to intervene in a situation.
This message created by the youth identifies with the second “d” — distract. For instance, if you’re walking down the street and realize your friend is being catcalled by a someone this should immediately raise a red flag in your mind as a potentially abusive situation as they’re being harassed by someone.
Some might still think this behavior is accepted as a form of a compliment but today we recognize this as abusive behavior, especially if these comments aren’t received well by the person they’re directed at. It’s important to know you can use your voice to distract your friend from the cat caller by starting up a conversation which would drown out the abusive voice.
Pro-tip: It doesn’t even have to be your friend. If you see someone in need of rescuing from cat calls, you can step in and pretend as though you know the person just so they’re saved from the situation.
#Everybodytoldme jealousy isn’t the same as love but #nobodytoldme. your apology doesn’t count if you keep doing the same thing to me.
Some people may think because their partner is possessive over them that means their boyfriend or girlfriend “loves harder” or that their love/bond is stronger because of it. This particular exhibit of controlling behavior is actually a form of abuse and someone who’s on the receiving end of it may not have a clue.
What most people don’t realize is after time they get so conditioned to receiving one type of emotional response that their brain rationalizes this behavior. What outsiders may define as jealousy or a possessive nature, those who are in a relationship sometimes don’t have the ability to recognize that they’re in an unhealthy relationship until they feel trapped.
The Alliance teaches the youth signs to recognize and identify by engaging them in conversation and community mobilization efforts. Remember, having the tools and know-all is just half the battle of getting out of an unhealthy relationship. The other half is having the courage to ask for help.
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