In response to the prevalence of teen dating abuse and the importance of the issue described by teens themselves, Liz Claiborne, Inc. has funded EDC to create a high school curriculum, the Love Is Not Abuse curriculum, to educate and provide support and guidance to teens.
Working with an Advisory Board that includes teenagers, researchers, and dating violence experts, EDC will develop a targeted effort to educate teens on how to prevent and respond to the physical, verbal, and sexual abuse that can occur in dating relationships. The Love Is Not Abuse curriculum will be designed to reach 9th grade students, enabling them to recognize, respond to and seek help for victims suffering relationship abuse. Liz Claiborne Inc. is funding and helping to guide the overall effort, as part of its Love Is Not Abuse program, which for the past 14 years has focused on raising awareness of and ultimately ending relationship violence.
“The sheer number of teens impacted by domestic violence issues is shocking, and our company wants to reach out to these kids right now so that they have the resources to deal with this issue as they enter adulthood,” says Jane Randel, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Liz Claiborne Inc. “Our hope is that this curriculum will help educate teens on how to identify all forms of relationship abuse and understand what types of actions are and are not acceptable in a healthy dating relationship.”
The three-lesson curriculum will be designed to be taught in health education and English language arts classes. It will draw on brief, engaging literary texts (poetry, short stories) to build awareness of how to make healthy choices in relationships. The goals of the Love Is Not Abuse curriculum will be to:
- Increase students’ awareness of and knowledge about teenage dating violence
- Enable students to challenge beliefs that support teenage dating violence
- Increase help-seeking behavior among students involved in dating relationships that include violence
The curriculum will contain detailed background information for teachers on the scope of the teenage dating violence problem and strategies for responding to students who disclose being in an abusive situation. Break the Cycle, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage, educate and empower youth to build lives and communities free from dating and domestic violence, will also work closely with EDC in helping to shape the curriculum and acting as a resource for students or teachers who are themselves dealing with an abusive situation, or need advice on how to help a friend/student.
“It is clear that dating violence is a critical problem facing youth in America and there is limited focus on this issue in our nation’s schools,” explained Christine Blaber, Associate Director of the Center for School and Community Health Programs at Education Development Center, Inc., and Project Director. “Our goal is to create a dynamic initiative that will be easily incorporated into the school day to help teenagers name dating violence, understand it, provide resources and suggestions about what to do when it arises, and ultimately help stop its growth.”
Originally published on June 1, 2005