WHEN I SEE THE NO MORE SYMBOL…
I see the 1 in 3 young people experiencing dating abuse1. I see the couple at the mall who look happy, but in reality he is gripping her hand so tight that her rings cut into her fingers; the young trans boy whose partner needs to know where they are at all times; the young college student who is “not allowed” to hang out with his friends anymore because it means that he doesn’t love his girlfriend; and the girl whose hookup buddy is threatening to ‘out’ her if she doesn’t have sex.
When I see the No More symbol, I see the 57% of young people who wait over 6 months before getting help2. I envision our clients at Break the Cycle, coming to us for safety plans, protection orders, and divorce cases; the friend groups at a loss of what to do when they figure out their friend’s partner is beating them; the Facebook and Twitter users who summon the courage to ask us for resources and referrals.
I see youth voices unified and amplified for the causes of domestic violence and sexual assault prevention. I hear their shouts for inclusion, equality, and peace. I feel their ambition, persistence, and passion for change.
When I see the No More symbol, I see the 70,000+ people that have chosen resistance. I see the people who refuse to accept the status quo of a culture that normalizes abuse; men putting aside their learned attitudes of toxic masculinity; women who will no longer sit down and be quiet; non-binary, genderqueer, and trans individuals who know they deserve inclusion in the movement; people of every culture, religion, social class, ethnicity, and identity coming together to create change.
When I see the No More symbol, I see hope. I visualize the young people across the nation talking about dating abuse through the national youth-led movement Let’s Be Real; the survivors who become emboldened to share their stories; the activists who discover strength and community online; the parents and caring adults from the Love Is Not Abuse coalition who find the promise of a bright future for their children in its circle.
Most importantly, when I see the No More symbol, I see youth voices unified and amplified for the causes of domestic violence and sexual assault prevention. I hear their shouts for inclusion, equality, and peace. I feel their ambition, persistence, and passion for change. I see their decisions not to stand by while someone is getting hurt, to share their stories so others can be safe, and to wear additional symbols, like orange, to signify that everyone deserves a healthy relationship.
Help young people say NO MORE to teen dating abuse during the month of February for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (#teenDVmonth) and beyond. Be inspired by and learn from them; because young people are not only our future, they are today. Learn more about how you can get involved at www.breakthecycle.org.
Jasmine Ceja Uribe is the Director of Community Initiatives at Break the Cycle.
1 Vagi, K. J., Olsen, E. O. M., Basile, K. C., & Vivolo-Kantor, A. M. (2015). Teen dating violence (physical and sexual) among US high school students: findings from the 2013 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. JAMA Pediatrics, 169 (5), 474-482.
2 K, Mary (2014). “2014 Mary Kay Truth About Abuse Survey.”