The Healthy Relationship Series explores dating violence, sexual assault/abuse and sexual harassment.
While these topics can be presented as a series or individually, research supports that multiple presentations, especially when repeated throughout the students’ school lifespan, are most effective in creating and sustaining change in beliefs and behavior.
Each module has optional teacher and parent modules that allow adults to reinforce concepts taught, foster resiliency and protective factors, and ensure appropriate response to disclosures.
Topics and scenarios are tailored to be age-appropriate for middle versus high school audiences. Our additional Fourth Day (links to text below on 4th day) program can be scheduled to integrate and apply the content of these three curricula using scenarios and problem-solving activities that respond to all learning styles. We also strongly recommend including our Gender Images/Media Literacy curriculum in the series:
Dating Violence (Day 1 in Series):
After developing a definition of what constitutes a healthy relationship, students explore behaviors that do not meet this standard and might be abusive - whether physical, verbal, emotional or sexual. Through case analysis, students become aware of the impact of abuse on the victim, how to counter this impact, assertive strategies to counter abuse tactics, factors that can contribute to or diminish abusive behaviors in the actual or potential perpetrator and vulnerability in the actual or potential victim, and, to a limited degree, how to address the broader root sources of abuse.
Feedback from HATS Social Worker:
I was reading an article about dating violence….[wherein] students interviewed stated that Rihanna must have done or said something to Chris Brown for him to have hit her. This is a statement I would have heard many years ago at our school – but not anymore. Since we [have had your programs] on a regular basis, the students know who they are and what they stand for. They also see how attitudes change and have changed among themselves and their peers. Students now stand up for each other and give each other advice on warning signs. Students no longer sit back and tell their friends that [possessiveness, extreme jealousy] is okay or is love. Students have really changed the culture of the school itself by making it clear that these attitudes [such as ‘she must have done something to deserve it’] are really gone. Your agency has to take some of the credit for this.
Sexual Assault (Day 2 in Series):
Through an exploration of the common myths surrounding sexual assault, students arrive at a realistic understanding of its many forms and risks. Since 85% of sexual assault is perpetrated by someone you know, and may even trust, this workshop focuses on the dynamics of acquaintance rape, the role of rape facilitating drugs and alcohol, risk-reduction and prevention, protective factors/skills for both males and females, what to do if you are a victim, how to help a friend, and bystander/upstander intervention. This curriculum has a strong emphasis on understanding consent.
Student feedback to the question “I learned…”
... a relationship should be strong. Both people should feel the same way - not one overpowering the other
... It was really informative and I’m glad I now know if I or a friend needs help, I know what to do
... I think it’s good you are talking to us at this age. People may not believe it, but a lot of this age group is going through this (dating violence)
… that I’m in an abusive relationship…..again
Sexual Harassment (Day 3 in Series):
Through role-playing and activities, there is a strong emphasis on understanding and communicating personal boundaries and interpreting verbal and non-verbal communication. Students also learn about legal resources and strategies for dealing with sexual harassment at school and in the workplace.
Fourth (4th) Day Supplement:
The 4th Day allows students interactive, hands-on integration and application of concepts learned during the Healthy Relationship Series to real life situations. This additional day maximizes higher order learning addressing multiple intelligences to a greater degree than is possible with the time frame of the Series.
The 4th day can also be a teacher activity packet used in conjunction with the Healthy Relationship Series in order to reinforce skills and know-ledge. An activity can be used to fill extra time at the end of class, be incorporated into a lesson plan, or be given as a homework or extra-credit project. In either case, these activities should involve minimal adult interference in order to promote students forming healthy conclusions on their own.
Feedback from Health Educator, New Milford HS:
Students [now] know that [you are there] as a resource. They come to us about contacting you if they are worried about their friends or siblings…even for issues involving self-esteem and self-destructive behavior. We can only hope that you change or increase awareness….for their future relationships