Let’s End Gender-Based Violence
Battered Women’s Support Services has been delivering youth violence prevention programming since the late 1980’s.
Our programs include safety planning, education, training, and workshops for youth about healthy relationships and dating violence.
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Things to think about when online dating
COVID-19 has changed so many things in our world: the way we eat, how we get groceries, what we can do for fun, and how we connect with people in both platonic and romantic ways.
One thing that hasn’t changed? The importance of the internet.
Whether it’s keeping people updated on our lives through social media, exploring a new hobby on the internet, or scrolling just to pass the time, COVID-19 has shown us just how essential the internet is in keeping us connected. This applies to dating as well: being online has made it easier to meet that special someone. Whether it’s using a dating app, interacting on social media, or sharing thoughts on an internet forum, meeting people online is here to stay.
With so many people using the internet to find dates and make new friends, how can you make sure things are done in a way that’s comfortable and safe?
These ideas may be helpful to think about as you take those first steps in connecting online:
Check-in with yourself
As with dating in person, it’s always important to check in with yourself first.
Ask yourself: “Am I ready to date? Am I interested in more casual dating, or am I trying to meet my forever partner?” Asking yourself these questions is as important as knowing what you’re looking for. It can also help ease some worries and ensure you’re using your time wisely while online.
It’s also a good idea to reflect on what dating looks like to you. Knowing what your boundaries are around things such as communication and intimacy can help you feel confident in yourself as you begin dating.
It’s equally important to check in with yourself about what feels good in the era of COVID-19. Coronavirus has affected how we date, and we all have different feelings about what’s safe and comfortable.
The popular dating site Bumble has created resources discussing how dating has changed and ways to prepare yourself for dating during the pandemic.
They also have a section in their app titled “Safety and Wellbeing”, which focuses on things such as first date anxiety, rejection, and caring for your mental health while dating. Exploring these topics before dating can be helpful in evaluating what feels comfortable to you. Reflecting on these things could help you determine if you would prefer to use the video chat option to have an online date before dating in-person, or perhaps rethinking the activities you typically choose for dates.
However you feel about COVID-19, it is important to be honest with your potential match so that everyone feels safe during this time. Setting clear boundaries and expectations will ease some worries about potential in-person dates and give good insight into if your values align or not.
Taking the first step
You’ve been online for a bit, and you found someone that you’re interested in getting to know better. Maybe you met on a dating app, or possibly on a forum talking about your new quarantine hobby.
You’re excited, nervous, and asking, “what next?”
Though you may have met the person online and will communicate digitally at first, that doesn’t mean that the foundation for a healthy relationship doesn’t apply.
It’s important to be honest with your potential partner about what you’re looking for, as well as setting boundaries and expectations for your communication and interactions.
This is especially important when communicating online, as it may be harder to vet the person you’re talking to.
Your boundary could be communicating in the app or platform you met in instead of sharing your personal phone number. Or you may want to video call before meeting in person to get to know each other better. Online communication can make talking frequently much easier. So, stating expectations about the level of communication and topics you discuss with each other is important.
Warning signs of abuse
Is this abuse?
Dating abuse is a pattern of coercive, intimidating, or manipulative behaviors used to exert power and control over a partner.
While we define dating violence as a pattern, that doesn’t mean the first instance of abuse isn’t also dating violence; we simply recognize that dating violence tends to involve a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time.
All relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive, with unhealthy relationships somewhere in the middle. Explore our Healthy Relationship Quiz and find out where your own relationship falls.
Healthy relationships are based on equality & respect
You make decisions together and can openly discuss whatever you’re dealing with, like relationship problems and sexual choices. You enjoy spending time together but can be happy apart.
A healthy relationship means both you and your partner are:
Make mutual choices
Unhealthy relationships are based on attempts to control the other person
One person tries to make most of the decisions. He or she may pressure their partner about sex or refuse to see how their actions can hurt. In an unhealthy relationship, you feel like you should only spend time with your partner.
You may be in an unhealthy relationship if your partner is:
Pressures you into activities
Abusive relationships are based on an imbalance of power & control
One person is making all the decisions— about sexual choices, friend groups, boundaries, even what’s true and what’s not. You spend all of your time together and feel like you can’t talk to other people, especially about what’s really happening in your relationship.
You may be in an abusive relationship if your partner is:
Communicating in a harmful or hurtful way
Accusing you of cheating when it’s untrue
Denying their actions are abusive
What to look for & more
Typical warning signs of abuse from your partner include:
Checking your phone, email, or social media accounts without your permission.
Putting you down frequently, especially in front of others.
Extreme jealousy or insecurity.
Possessiveness or controlling behavior.
Isolating you from friends or family (physically, financially, or emotionally).
Explosive outbursts, temper, or mood swings.
Pressuring you or forcing you to have sex.
Any form of physical harm.
If you recognize any of the warning signs, it may be an indication that your relationship is abusive. Create a safety plan or text, call, or chat now with a Safety Changes Everything Advocate to confidentially discuss your situation and explore available options.
Used with permission by Love is Respect
Create a safety plan
You can build ways to reach a safer place with our personalized safety planning tool.
Gender-based violence continues as an epidemic. Planning for safety is one way you can take back your power in abusive relationships. It’s important to remember that the systems you depend on for support may not be the same in different settings, especially if you’re attending school far away from home.
Although you can’t control an intimate partner’s use of violence, creating a plan that is specific to you and your life that will increase your safety at school, work, home, and other places that you go on a daily basis.
Create Your Personalized Safety Plan Now
Youth Violence Prevention Workshop Volunteer Training
The YOUth Ending Violence Program trains young people to deliver dating violence prevention workshops to youth.
The workshops will allow for young people to understand the difference between liberating and oppressive relationships; to understand the dynamics of abuse and the roots of gender-based violence; learn where and how to obtain help; understand the role of social media and traditional media in dating relationships; and to support youth to feel empowered to speak out against dating violence and sexism.
Participants will learn:
Participants will get:
Complete an additional 20 hours of educational work (this can include blog writing, copywriting, outreach, event planning)
Attend monthly online volunteer meetings
2022 training sessions:
February 6, 13, 20, 27 2022
All training and commitments to be completed within 6 months of joining the program.
To register or for more information:
Contact Yas, Youth Violence Prevention Coordinator
Education Presentation Opportunity
Book a young person from the YOUth Ending Violence Program to deliver a dating violence prevention workshop.
For 20 years Battered Women’s Support Services has delivered dating violence prevention education. By providing relevant education to youth about violence in dating relationships we are helping to end violence.
This FREE workshop can be conducted in person or online. Book as soon as possible as our calendar fills up very quickly.
To book your workshop or inquire:
Contact Yas, Youth Violence Prevention Coordinator
Need help now?
You are not alone. You have options.
Our Safety Changes Everything team are available 24/7 by phone or text to discuss your situation and help create a personalized safety plan that’s right for you.
Call 24/7 toll free 1-855-687-1868