Make the Connection

A healthy relationship is based on equality, mutual respect, shared responsibilities, and commitment. It involves open communication, trust, and healthy boundaries.  These traits are not inherent in most relationships.  They must be learned, practiced, and worked toward for the duration of the relationship.

Relationships are not perfect.  Feeling angry, hurt, or upset at times is normal.  But feeling scared, humiliated, pressured, or controlled is not the way a relationship should make you feel.  Instead, you should feel loved, respected, and free to be yourself.

It is important that teens understand the qualities of a healthy relationship—with friends as well as with dating partners.  This information can be especially helpful if you have witnessed or experienced violence between your parents, have been in an unhealthy or unsafe dating relationship, or have friends in unhealthy relationships.

Here you can find information you need to understand the difference between healthy relationships and unhealthy relationships, how our culture promotes images of each, as well as other forms of violence.

How to Step Up and Speak Out
You can make a difference by stepping up and speaking out against domestic violence and sexual assault in our communities. Find out how you can Step Up and Speak Out and bring awareness to your community.

Make a Difference

Start with your self:

  • Be an example to your friends and family about how to solve problems without violence. 

Step up and get involved:

  • Become a peer mentor.
  • Create a poster campaign in your school about healthy relationships.
  • Create a public service announcement for your community or use the public service announcements from past Step Up, Speak Out campaigns. 
  • Participate in your local domestic violence/sexual assault programs awareness activities.  Find the program serving your community.

Speak out and be an active bystander:

  • Step up if you see someone yelling at their boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Speak out against inappropriate jokes.

Learn more ways to Step Up and Speak Out!

Important Tools

When helping yourself or people close to you who may be experiencing violence, you may find these basic tools to be very useful: