Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month: Do you know your worth?

By: 
Sarah Campbell and Jess Kaehny

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM), and the national theme this year is #KnowYourWorth. Hope House wants teens to know that they are worthy of a healthy relationship. Here’s what #KnowYourWorth means to us:

You are worthy of feeling safe. Safety means feeling comfortable disagreeing with your partner and not feeling like you have to walk on eggshells around them. Safety means being able to be open and honest with your partner about your feelings and vulnerabilities without fear they will use what they learn against you.

You are worthy of respect. Respect means your partner values you, your opinion and decisions, and how you want to be treated. Know that you are worthy of setting boundaries with your partner and having those boundaries respected. These could be: Physical boundaries, like affection and intimacy; emotional boundaries, like trusting you’re telling the truth, and digital boundaries, like asking permission before sharing a photo of you.

You are worthy of being appreciated for who you are. No matter your gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, ability, race, or ethnicity, you deserve to be loved and appreciated for who you are. Someone who cares about you should never make you feel like you’re not worthy because of your identity. This could look like someone name calling, belittling or shaming you. You do not deserve to be treated this way. You deserve a partner that makes you feel good about yourself and raises your self-esteem.

You are worthy of having supportive adults and friends in your life. Too often young people who have concerns about their relationship are not believed and supported by the people in their life. Please know that you are worthy of having trusted adults and friends who will be there for you and ask how you want to be supported. If you feel you don’t have someone like this in your life, Hope House is here for you. 

What does #KnowYourWorth mean to you?  Hope House invites you to take the opportunity this month to tell your friends and family, and especially the young people in your life, that they are worthy of safety, respect, and support. If you or a teen in your life is experiencing abuse and would like free and confidential support, please call our 24-hour helpline at 1-800-584-6790. Learn more at hopehousescw.org/teen-dating-violence or on Facebook and Instagram: @hopehousescw. You can also visit loveisrespect.org/get-involved/tdvam for helpful resources on healthy relationships, warning signs of abuse, and how to support others.

Sarah Campbell is a youth advocate/educator and Jess Kaehny is community education program manager for Hope House of South Central Wisconsin.