During a primary prevention course with teens, a Shelter House advocate opened discussion about gift giving. Jacob*, a middle schooler, shared that his girlfriend yelled at him for not getting her a more expensive gift when he gave her a necklace purchased with his own money. Michael*, a high schooler in the group, spoke up and said, “That sounds just like one of the scenarios we talked about. Your girlfriend is abusive and you should break up with her.” Jacob said he tried but the girl wouldn’t let him.
The Shelter House advocate spoke with Jacob and made a safety plan for his breakup. Michael continued his support by offering to sit with Jacob when he made the phone call to officially break up.
This situation demonstrates how important these teen dating violence support groups and violence prevention education are. They create a safe space where teens can connect, share experiences and help each other.