February Is Teen Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Say NO MORE with Break the Cycle

NO MORE teams up with partner groups to spotlight our cause throughout the year, and February is crucial for prevention: Teen Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Break the Cycle’s new CEO Amy Sanchez says that the highest rate of victimization for abuse and sexual assault occurs between the ages of 16 and 24. Break the Cycle, which since NO MORE’s inception has served on our Executive Committee, is the leading national nonprofit that empowers this group through education and outreach. Their prevention programs work to ensure that these relationships are healthy.

NO MORE works with Break the Cycle to boost awareness around teen sexual assault and violence. Amy Sanchez talked to us about why their work with NO MORE is so important—for giving these young survivors visibility and a voice.

Why is Break the Cycle’s work so important?

Adults often see young people as the future–but their voice isn’t often considered as being as pertinent as other voices at the table. But the highest rate of victimization is between 16 and 24. The youth voice in this conversation is more than just an add-on—it drives the national conversation about ending domestic violence and sexual assault. This is a key opportunity. In 2012, we established a partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline called Love is Respect, where a teenager who needs help can chat, call, or text for live help, figure out whether their relationship is abusive, learn how to help a friend and more.

What do teens cope with now that they didn’t 20 years ago?

Social media. On the plus side, twenty years ago, if a young person was experiencing violence, they could only call a hotline. Now they have more options. This openness can be a good way to get support. But the way in which youth interacts is different. When I was young, I talked to my boyfriend on our landline hooked to the wall. Now, my teenagers use text or Snapchat. In high school, if I did something I regretted, maybe my best friend knew. Now the whole world can know about it. It’s riskier. But social media also engages people. There’s a balance.

What are your thoughts about NO MORE, including the Super Bowl publicity and some of the resulting criticism?

NO MORE represents a huge opportunity to engage people who have not been engaged before. It’s a unifying symbol. We needed the brand. People recognize brands. I live in rural Wisconsin. All of my friends who know nothing about domestic violence and sexual assault and never talk about it now recognize it—because they watch football! Through NO MORE, we’re reaching people who have never been reached before. We’re engaging men. They are learning what these issues are, and we’re showing people opportunities for change. It’s extremely moving. A group of people can be watching football, screaming, then a NO MORE ad comes on and everybody’s quiet. These ads show the direct impact on people’s lives. We’ve been missing this.


Love has many definitions, but abuse isn’t one of them.

To get involved in Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, visit Love Is Respect. On February 10, join Wear Orange 4 Love by getting as many people as you can to wear something orange to spread awareness. Wear whatever you can think of, tell people why you’re doing it, and post updates on Twitter using #orange4Love #RespectWeek2015 and on Facebook.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day by helping your friends learn about healthy relationships. Sign up to distribute the National Respect Announcement on February 13.

NO MORE celebrates its second birthday in March—learn even more ways to spread the word during NO MORE Week, support your friends, get involved, and say NO MORE here.


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