VOX joined Partnership Against Domestic Violence Teen Summit to give teens a chance to speak up about what matters to them about dating, dating violence and healthy relationships. Through participating in VOX workshops and speak out stations, teens shared their experiences and voices around this year’s Summit theme “Voices and Choices.” VOX’s Atlanta Teen Voices Teen Editor Christian Stallworth co-facilitated two workshops and emceed the day. She explains the piece she’s put together here.
When our VOX team went to Partnership Against Domestic Violence’s eighth annual teen summit, we gathered so many incredible teen voices. What you will see below is the content from the event that I put together and divided into questions, advice and a letter to a future partner.
I saw common themes surrounding relationships in the content we collected. Being in a relationship involves many steps including self-reflection, self-love and know-how about healthy relationships vs unhealthy relationships. I thought it would be great to organize these in a chronological order from before a person enters a relationship, to solving problems and knowing how to communicate with a partner, to knowing when enough is enough.
Dear future partner,
I ask you to respect me. I ask you to support me. I ask you to love me for who I am. Motivate me to do and be better. Hugs and kisses…not black eyes and bruises. I have bipolar depression. I’ve been through unimaginable hurt. Please understand that and love me unconditionally as I will for you.
What do you have to do before, during and after you enter a relationship?
- You have to love yourself
- You have to know your self-worth.
- You have to stay true to yourself.
- Know you are beyond your pain and struggles.
- Just remember to always love yourself on the inside first. The rest will come naturally.
- Speak up. Speak out…even if in doubt, give a victim the courage that makes them want to shout
- Believe you are beautiful and important
- Be your first love and priority.
- Remember you are loved.
What does a healthy relationship look like?
- Feeling comfortable to reveal something about yourself without being judged
- Getting taken care of when you are feeling down. Your significant other should be supportive and understanding.
- “Never settle for less, it’s more to life than that mess”
- Having your opinion respected.
What does an unhealthy relationship look like?
- Violence should never be accepted under any circumstances
- Hitting is not love
- Mind games are not love
- Put downs are not love
- Stalking is not love
- Jealousy is not love
- Controlling is not love
- Help your friend speak out if you suspect they are in an unhealthy relationship
- Let your friend know that being in an abusive relationship is not normal…It is a serious issue.
- Talk to people about your relationship problemsThink positively about your situation
- Know the signs of an abuser
- Don’t think that no one cares about you
- Reach out to your community; it’s there for a reason
- People will try to give you what they think you deserve and you will choose what you deserve, but what you may think you deserve may not always be what you do. Sometimes you deserve more. Let someone help you and choose a healthy life for you.
PADV Teen Contributors:
Alex Chargois, 16
Amanda Wong, 17
Deon WIllis, 18
Janasthisa DeJesus, 17
Janea Clark, 15
Katera Tyson, 16
Keon Willis, 18
Krystal Moise, 16
Maysa Berhano, 17
Morgan Rankrks, 17
Shayla B., 17
Tamaya Traylor, 16
Save The Date for VOX-a-palooza — April 29!
VOX’s second annual end-of-year celebration will take place on Saturday, April 29, at The Rush Center. This event is planned by VOX teens for you — their peers throughout Atlanta.
VOX looks forward to bringing teens in our city an opportunity to SPEAK OUT about the issues that matter deeply to you.
We will also PUBLISH teens’ original content created at the event, here on VOXAtl.com.
This event will include the release of VOX Investigates new print edition on mental health and will culminate in the Art Not Ego final poetry slam to determine the team that will represent Atlanta at Brave New Voices this summer!