Peer Students Raise Awareness on Relationship Violence

Momina Arshad, Staff Writer

February is the month of love and showing affection towards loved ones, be it a friend, family, or significant other. However, some Broad Run students felt that it is very important to address the difference between what’s love and what’s not love. Broad Run PEER students came up with the idea of raising awareness among their fellow high school students to educate them and help them differentiate healthy and abusive relationships.
A healthy relationship can help an individual grow personally and within the relationship. Nonetheless, it is very significant to know the signs that shows what’s NOT love. Broad Run PEER and sponsor, Amy Buckley, started an awareness program where differences between healthy and abusive relationships were shown to students through various ways, such as class projects and video clips; it helps them differentiate the two. Students also used the term #ThatsLove and #thatsnotlove and posted pictures all over the school addressing the two. The phrase has become very common and have been heard from students in the hallways.

“It’s teen dating violence awareness month throughout the country. We were trying to promote further awareness in our school. We have tried to have somebody from peer on the morning announcements for each day of February—to share statistics or a story through short skits,” said junior Ashley Paul, member of PEER. Buckley and her students also created an activity for all (freshman to senior) English classes where students watched short skits that explained the difference between a healthy and an abusive relationship. After watching the skits, students come up with their own examples of what’s love and what’s not love, and then they make paper hearts and wrote their favorite examples. The teachers then collected the hearts and give it back to Mrs. Buckley, and they post it on display in hallway.

Lundy Bancroft, author of Inside the Mind of Angry and Controlling Men, says, “The scars from mental cruelty can be as deep and long-lasting as wounds from punches or slaps but are often not as obvious. In fact, even among women who have experienced violence from a partner, half or more report that the man’s emotional abuse is what is causing them the greatest harm.”

Emotional abuse can affect an individual longer than any physical scar. Students PEER have shown that addressing this topic and raising awareness on it was very important in a place like high school where individuals begin to learn the meaning of relationships.