Nearly 20 years after the formation of Break the Cycle, the number of youth experiencing dating abuse and sexual assault is the same as the day the organization was founded. It is time to face the reality that many of us are all too comfortable with providing resources for people experiencing violence after it happens but not proactively determining how we can prevent the violence from ever beginning. Break the Cycle staff members often hear from adults the mistaken belief that youth only start experiencing dating abuse when they go off to college or get to high school. Research confirms both boys and girls have their first experience with partner violence before the age of 18.
Now is the time! While there is a new commitment to building awareness about the epidemic-to fully explore prevention measures that will go beyond Time’s Up and move us to Not Ever.
Why Real Change?
In 2010, Break the Cycle introduced the HOPE Project,- a membership group dedicated to actively shining a light on the problem of dating abuse. By engaging in efforts to bring resources to local communities, HOPE members ensure we are able to continue to explore the root causes of abusive behaviors and build active measures to end them. Now, given this renewed public commitment, the HOPE Project and memberships will be known as Real Change.
We are repositioning the HOPE Project under the banner Real Change because now is the ideal time to raise our voices and challenge the social norms that allow abuse to continue. For a $10 monthly recurring gift (or $120 annually), Real Change members will have a proactive stake in our efforts. Real Change members will receive an exclusive monthly email from Break the Cycle’s CEO with tips on how to engage your community, spread awareness, and build resources. You’ll also receive insider information from youth around the country as well as an annual token of appreciation from the youth with whom we work. Each month we will spotlight one of our Real Change members in our community email to showcase your efforts and commitment and encourage others by your example.
The Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Challenge
Young people will kick off our Real Change challenge on February 14th (Valentine’s Day). For each $10 raised, young people challenge adults in the LINA Coalition to commit to becoming members of Real Change. We hope 50 members will join us by the end of February in honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Please join us in amplifying the youth giving on February 14th or becoming a Real Change member by February 28th.