As many people know, dating violence and healthy relationships are two major issues affecting people of all ages, sexualities, genders, and races. They are both universal issues, but dating violence is still widely normalized and cultivating healthy relationships is often ignored in modern American society. We have seen this through movies and television that say a controlling partner is not unhealthy, rather lovingly concerned. This misrepresentation of what health relationships actually look like have harmed the way we view and treat relationships.
I am currently a sophomore at Bangor High School, who did not know anything about healthy relationships until Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance came into our health class in 2015. In just 40 minutes, I learned about the different forms of abuse and how it can affect any and all relationships. This was so important because it was a very valuable addition to the curriculum. I had little to no knowledge about how abuse occurs and where it can stem from, being only a freshman in high school. I found the spectrum of abuse activity most helpful because it covered normalized behaviors, such as having a controlling partner. This one activity showed me how unhealthy actions can easily escalate in relationships. I found this very important because I knew many of my friends and classmates who were in unhealthy relationships. This includes everything from asking for social media account passwords to expecting sex as a prerequisite for a serious relationship.
By learning more about the Alliance and their huge positive effect on the community, I became more motivated to get involved. So far I have worked with many empowered women from organizers to artists. They have taught me the various ways to positively impact the community.
Overall Spruce Run-Womancare Alliance has helped me realize how unhealthy relationships are normalized and how we can work as a community to change this. The most recent workshop for the Youth and Nonviolence event was part of this work. We had many young people there who were genuinely interested in learning more about healthy relationships. We were able to cover several topic including my favorite, the spectrum of abuse. We were able to come together as a community to recognize the misconceptions of health relationships and to help inform people about healthy relationships.