Things Aren’t Always What You See Campaign

Have you ever walked by a couple and thought about how happy or unhappy they looked?

Texting, hand holding, spending time with partners…all parts of a typical relationship, BUT have you ever wondered if what you were seeing was actually a sign of something unhealthy? For Angie, those normal-looking behaviors were warning signs. Watch her story:

About the Campaign

This campaign has a real story behind it. A survivor we call Angie reached out to Break the Cycle and shared a reflection about her experience of dating abuse in high school, and so the Things Aren’t Always What You See campaign was born. The campaign’s purpose is to provide information to the many young people who are going through unhealthy & even abusive situations in their relationships that they self-describe as “drama.” The goal of the campaign is to provide awareness & intervention information in private spaces like fitting rooms, lockers, changing rooms and even restrooms about the subtle forms of abuse or warning signs.

Why Private Spaces?

Victims of dating abuse may retreat to a private space such as a fitting room or bathroom to get away from an abusive partner. This private space can provide a few minutes of calm, alone time compared to the hostile environment they face walking around a mall with a partner who makes accusations, demands, is subtly physically abusive or whispering verbal threats. Because these all too common behaviors are not as “visible” as other forms of abuse, hundreds of people can walk past a couple without noticing the abuse. We’re asking everyone to consider that Things Aren’t Always What You See; help us help every young person know that they deserve a healthy relationship, and some of these behaviors are actually warning signs — not signs of love. Will you join us?

How Can I Help?

Bring the posters & message of healthy relationships to a store, campus, or organization near you! We’re calling on young people to get out there and take the campaign to the streets! Help us spread the word that everyone deserves a healthy relationship. This is a great philanthropic effort for your sorority/fraternity, school club, youth group, or just with friends!

Step 1 – Request a Campaign Toolkit

  • Fill out this form to receive the campaign!

  • 3 high quality Things Aren’t Always What You See campaign poster digital downloads (as seen in the video)

  • Campaign explanation, instructions, & tips for a successful campaign!

  • Letter explaining the campaign to give to stores, gyms, schools, etc.

Step 2 – Connect with a store, gym or campus near you

  • Use the campaign letter to share the details about the purpose of the campaign and mention that you are joining a national movement to end dating abuse.

  • Businesses/organizations/schools/etc. that participate in the campaign can have their name added to our website as a campaign partner!

Step 3 – Put up the poster & share!

  • Get permission to put the poster up in a private space like a fitting room or bathroom stall.

  • Snap a photo of the poster. Post about it online.

  • Use #NotAlwaysWhatYouSee in all your posts.

  • Share with us! Twitter = @breakthecycledv | Instagram = @breakthecycle | Facebook = @letsberealbtc

Reflect on the Campaign

It’s okay to want space…

Creating boundaries is another key to a healthy relationship. Each person has a right to decide what they are okay with. This includes physical stuff, how often we talk to our partners, and even our social media passwords.

If you don’t like it when your partner texts and calls too much or doesn’t give you alone time, you have the right to speak up!

What about when it’s unhealthy or abusive?

There are sometimes when we think something is okay, but it’s really not. Here are some signs it may be time to rethink your relationship:

  • Uses jealousy as a sign of love or makes you jealous on purpose

  • Moves too fast and doesn’t respect boundaries

  • Constantly blames you, and doesn’t take responsibility for their actions

  • Feels as though their feelings or opinions are more important than yours

  • Feels like you can’t tell them no

  • Feels like they’re checking in or making you text them all the time

Remember, everyone has a right to feel respected and safe in their relationships. If something is happening that doesn’t feel okay, talk to someone you trust.

There is help and support available to you! Text “loveis” to 22522 for help.