Stopping the violence before it happens. Over the past 18 years Liz Claiborne has been leading efforts to end domestic violence with an investment over $8 million to date. As pervasive as the issue is, abuse remains one of the most under-served and funded causes in the country.
Liz Claiborne started the Love is Not Abuse Coalition ( formerly known as Moms and Dads for Education to Stop Teen Dating Abuse – MADE) back in December of 2008. It is fast becoming a national grassroot coalition of parents, teachers and anyone who is advocating for teen dating abuse education. It was inspired by dedicated and courageous parents whose children were victims of teen dating abuse and violence, and who want to ensure that no one else’s child becomes a victim.
Through the LoveisNotAbuse.com website, you can become a member, download resources to contact your schools and legislators, and receive the Love is Not Abuse curriculum. Also available is the LoveisRespect.org, the national teen dating abuse hotline, operated by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, established through a gift from Liz Claiborne. It is a 24-hour telephone helpline (1-866-331-9474 or TTY 1-866-331-8453).
At the Love is Not Abuse App Launch event hosted by Lucky Jeans, I learned that abuse comes in many forms. Dating abuse isn’t always about leaving scratches or bruises, it can also be emotional. Technology, a mainstay in many teens lives, has now brought way to new forms of abuse, making it sometimes difficult for parents to recognize. The numbers are shocking! Nearly 1 in 4 teens have been victimized by the use of technology from a boyfriend or girlfriend. 51% of teens know someone who has been victimized via the use of technology from a boyfriend of girlfriend.
The Love is Not Abuse App is unique in its ability to provide parents with a a rare insight into what it feels like for their teen to be a victim of digital dating abuse. In just a few minutes, parents will receive text messages, emails and phone calls from a boyfriend or girlfriend that mimic the actual communications that abused teens receive. The app goes into great detail with videos showing privacy invasion, deleting a partner’s friends on social networks and unauthorized access to a boyfriend or girlfriend’s social network teaching parents about the destructive behaviors common in digitally abusive relationships.
The Love is Not Abuse App is not just a simulator, but also provides immediate, concrete steps for parents to take if they suspect their child is a victim of dating abuse in addition to simple ways to just open lines of communication about the issue.
This is the world in which we live in. My children have not yet been touched by this and I hope for them and your children that they never do. If they ever do encounter such abuse, I hope that we as parents, armed with knowledge from the LoveisNotAbuse.com website will have opened the channels of communication before it happened and if it does, be able to recognize the warning signs.
The Love is Not Abuse App is FREE on iTunes provided by Liz Claiborne in partnership with Joyful Heart Foundation, Verizon Foundation, Wired Safety, Break the Cycle, Love is Respect, MTV, Seventeen, Mom Central and the American School Counselor Association.