What is a healthy relationship? How may it be defined? People define relationships differently, but according to loveisrespect.org, “open, honest and safe” communication is a fundamental part of the definition. 

Love Without Hurt, a non-profit organization, practices a similar definition with an in-depth focus on teen dating violence. The group was “created in response to the epidemic of teen dating abuse,” according to the group’s ‘About’ statement. The group, as part of their statement, is “dedicated to empowering teens so they can build healthy relationships,” which has been a core value they’ve been practicing for the past three years.

The Teen Advisory Board was formed out of Love Without Hurt, for teens to take initiative in their high schools and connect to their peers about issues regarding teen dating violence. 

The group, located in central Ohio, has taken root in local school districts in the area. They have held workshops and events, including “I Matter” and “Party to Prevent,” which has provided education to young girls about teen dating violence and has provided resources for teens to utilize for themselves and peers.

Despite the focus on teen dating violence, the group also focuses on the practice of healthy relationship habits during high school, the transition from high school into college and into adulthood. They emphasize the prevention and practice of healthy relationships, whether that be a teen and/or adult relationship.

The members — both mentors and teens — shared advice for warning signs of unhealthy relationships and what a healthy relationship encompasses: 

 

Laura Ryzenman

Love Without Hurt Representative, Mentor for Teen Advisory Board

“Know yourself and what your values are, and relate to the people you want to connect with whether friends, boyfriends. Seek those out and avoid those that don’t fit in that value. Trust your gut instincts. Make sure you have support; if and when you need help, know where your resources are and where you can get support.”

 

Lisa Spector

Love Without Hurt Representative, Mentor for Teen Advisory Board

“Always trust your intuition; if something doesn’t feel right, trust yourself and don’t doubt it. Pay attention to behavior; actions speak louder than words. Always check in and reach out to resources, don’t isolate (yourself). Understand the cycle of abuse and make sure that it doesn't happen in your world.”

 

Rachel Mathew

Teen Advisory Board Member; Senior, Dublin Jerome High School

“I think it's important to remind yourself of your own self worth and that you deserve to be treated like an attractive, intelligent, independent and loved human being! Listening to your friends who are telling you that they don't like the way your partner is treating you is also important because we can sometimes have blinders on to how we are actually being treated. It's also good to keep yourself in check to make sure that you aren't falling into how society tells you to navigate your relationship.”

 

Katie Ryan

Teen Advisory Board Member; Senior, New Albany High School 

“Trust your gut. Truly. If you feel that something isn’t 100% right, or you feel a slight turn in your stomach, get out of that situation. Speak with someone you trust to evaluate the issue; often times, someone who isn’t in the relationship will have a clearer view of it. Everyone has different boundaries. What might be okay for you might not be okay for someone else, and vice versa. And always, always, ask for consent.”

 

Leah Ryzenman 

Teen Advisory Board Member; Senior, New Albany High School

“COMMUNICATE! If you and your partner are on the same page, you can avoid so many unhealthy conflicts and issues. Definitely listen to your friends and family, because they know you, they can spot things you might not see yourself.”

For more information, go to loveisrespect.org for resources about dating violence and how to receive help. 

 

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