"Don't be like those girls in horror movies!"
The name of this activity and some of the scenarios that I will bring up are sort of tongue-in-cheek. I'm tackling some very serious issues, here, but trying to liven it up a little bit with some comedy. Some of the items we will be discussing (below) are jokes and some are not (I'm sure you can tell which are which!). To build interest in the activity, I will give the girls a handout (the Sunday before this activity) with this photo (above) and the name of the activity: "Don't be like those girls in horror movies!"
The basic idea of this activity is that we don't want to put ourselves in situations were we can become victims of violent crime. Most people know the sterotype of the air-headed, scantily clad babysitter (or co-ed, or camper, etc) that goes into the dark basement/woods alone to investigate a noise, no matter how many times you yell "Don't go in there!" at the screen.
The point is, its easy to anticipate a bad situation in a scary movie, but a lot of girls don't see the 'warning signs' in their own lives. The standards in For the Strength of Youth help us to avoid a lot of potentially bad situations.
I mention some of the possible situations that teen girls might find themselves in. I am the 1st Counselor in our Ward YW Presidency, so I primarily work with the Mia Maids (who are under 16, which is the Church-sanctioned dating age). However, there are some girls who begin dating before 16 in one way or another anyhow. Even if they do wait until 16 to begin dating, not all physical/sexual assaults are date-related. I feel that the girls should be aware of these issues before that time comes. Since young and naive girls are often victims of date-related violence because they are targeted for their naivity, learning about this issue sooner is better than later. Recent statistics show that 1 in 5 teen girls has been the victim of physical and/or sexual assault from someone they have dated. That is just unacceptable we must take steps to help the girls protect themselves!
AVOID POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS SITUATIONS LIKE:
- WALKING HOME AT NIGHT (ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT, THROUGH A CEMETERY WITH SOMEONE WHO MAY BE A WEREWOLF AND/OR ZOMBIE) (ESPECIALLY IF THE SONG "THRILLER" IS PLAYING). If you must walk alone at night, be aware of your surroundings, walk confidently, and run to the nearest house of business if you feel threatened. Yell and scream like crazy for help if necessary. Its better to embarrass yourself than to be attacked.
- TAKING SUBSTANCES (LIKE ALCOHOL OR DRUGS) THAT ALTER YOUR SENSE OF JUDGEMENT AND LESSEN YOUR ABILITY TO CONTROL YOUR SURROUNDINGS. Also be careful what you drink at parties, even drinks that are non-alcoholic. While its unpleasant to think about, drugs can be placed in a drink (without your knowledge) that can alter your judgement, erase your memory, and/or make you unconscious. These are called "roofies" or "date-rape drugs" and are often undetectable to the person drinking them. This trick is common at high school and college parties. Be on the safe side - Get your own soda from an unopened can and don't drink it if its been out of your sight.
- BEING ALONE IN A PARKED CAR IN THE WOODS WITH A BOY (EVEN WORSE WHEN THERE IS A HOOK-HANDED HOMICIDAL MANIAC ON THE LOOSE!). DISCUSS WHAT POSSIBLE SCENARIOS COULD HAPPEN IF A COUPLE IGNORES THIS RULE? Even if you don't intend to 'cross the line', there are many instances where a girl is forced to do things that she doesn't want to do. This almost always happens in private so that there is no one to hear if the girl calls for help. This is one of the reasons why we are strongly cautioned about single-dating and being alone with our dates in private locations.
84 % of women who have been sexually attacked knew their attacker and 57 % of the attacks have happened while on dates. This isn't a problem just for college-age girls, 38% of reported sexual assaults involved girls who were between the ages of 14 and 17.
- BEING ALONE IN A BEDROOM WITH A BOY (ON A DATE OR EVEN 'JUST HANGING OUT'). ITS EASY TO GET OUT OF CONTROL WHEN THINGS 'JUST HAPPEN'. DISCUSS POSSIBLE SITUATIONS THAT COULD HAPPEN IF A COUPLE IGNORES THIS RULE. SEE FOR THE STRENGTH OF YOUTH FOR DATING GUIDELINES.
- DATING OR BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMEONE WHO IS POSSESSIVE, JEALOUS, OR CONTROLLING. OFTEN THESE BAD TRAITS DON'T COME OUT IN PUBLIC, THEY MAY ONLY ACT CONTROLLING WHEN YOU ARE ALONE. SOMETIMES BOYS WHO ARE VERY CONTROLLING ARE ABLE TO HIDE THEIR BAD SIDE UNTIL AFTER YOU ARE COMMITTED IN A RELATIONSHIP. THIS IS ONE OF THE MANY REASONS WHY ITS BEST TO KEEP DATING CASUAL IN YOUR TEENS.
DATING WARNING SIGNS:HE TRIES TO MAKE YOU FEEL GUILTY
HE PUTS YOU DOWN
HE BLAMES YOU FOR THINGS THAT AREN'T YOUR FAULT
HE TRIES TO KEEP YOU FROM SPENDING TIME WITH FRIENDS OR FAMILY
HE PRESSURES YOU FOR A SERIOUS COMMITMENT
HE PRESSURES YOU TO DO ANYTHING
HE IS SO JEALOUS THAT HE ACCUSES YOU OF FLIRTING WITH EVERYONE
HE NEEDS TO KNOW WHERE YOU ARE AT ALL TIMES, KEEPS TABS ON YOU
HE INTERFERES WITH YOUR PLANS AND DOESN'T CARE
HE NEEDS TO PRE-APPROVE WHAT YOU DO, SAY, AND WEAR
YOU'RE AFRAID TO MAKE HIM UPSET
HE'S BEEN VIOLENT WITH PREVIOUS GIRLFRIENDS/DATES
HE HAS BEEN VIOLENT WITH YOU
HE THREATENS TO HURT HIMSELF, YOU, OR OTHERS
HE EMBARRASSES YOU IN PUBLIC
HE GETS REALLY UPSET, BUT ALWAYS APOLOGIZES LATER AND SAYS "IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN"
THE SCARY THING IS, POSSESSIVE/CONTROLLING BEHAVIOR AND VIOLENCE ESCALATES (GETS WORSE) OVER TIME. GET HELP IF YOU FEEL THAT YOU ARE BEING CONTROLLED OR THREATENED - IT WILL NOT GET BETTER, IT WILL GET WORSE!
IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF A VIOLENT CRIME IT IS IMPORTANT TO SEEK HELP FROM YOUR PARENTS (AND/OR YOUR CHURCH LEADERS OR ANOTHER TRUSTED ADULT) AND THE POLICE. Most incidents of relationship-abuse and date-related sexual assult go unreported. Why is that? Often because the victims feel that they are somehow to blame for what happened, they feel humiliated, they don't want to be ridiculed, or they fear that there will be retaliation from their attacker if they speak up. No matter what, violent attacks are never your fault and you must speak up and get help for two reasons: #1- to prevent it from happening again to someone else (or yourself) and #2- so that you can get medical and psychological help for yourself.
ISN'T IN BETTER TO JUST TRY TO PUT SOMETHING LIKE THAT BEHIND YOU AND FORGET IT? Victims of assault (especially sexual assault) often experience several problems with sleep (ie, nightmares, insomnia), problems eating normally, mood swings or depression, anger issues, difficulty trusting others, and more. It is better to seek help sooner rather than later because the sooner that you report the incident to the police, the greater the chances that they can gather evidence to bring the attacker to justice. The sooner you receive medical attention, the better for your physical and mental health, as well.
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