It’s amazing what we can do when we just talk to our friends.

Communication…what a great idea.

Probably the least used tool in our human repertoire is our voice. This is especially true in the middle school and high school world. I know that those are 7 years (for some 6 years) that are vastly different from the other. The span from 11-18 is huge, and the amount of maturing and growing during this time is equally expansive, however it is the one time we need to open our mouth and we don’t.

Here are three examples when you could speak up to your friends…and often nobody says anything.

Scenario 1 – Someone is yelling at or pushing their significant other (i.e. boyfriend/girlfriend)

I see it all the time. A person is yelling at their partner loud enough so that everyone can hear, or they push their partner against the locker, or they rip the other person’s cell phone out of their hand and won’t give it back till they finish looking through it and nobody says or does anything. In fact, most of the “friends” of these two just walk away amidst mutterings of “here they go again”.

SPEAK UP!!!!  You know for a fact this is not right! You feel it in your body, you feel it in your bones – this is wrong. If you say something…you could get hurt or loose the friend, or worse be publicly humiliated (so very easy now that everyone is connected on Facebook. Just a blurb on a social network can hurt you for the rest of your schooling. Scary)

Who cares!  Here is a safety plan you can send to any teen you know.  You have to speak up and say something. If you don’t want to do it at that moment…I don’t blame you. The situation is heated and tempers are flaring, that get you and the person hurt. However, later on…say something. Talk to the abuser and try to educate them. Keep talking , keep talking, till they shut you down. When this happens….talk to their partner. Give them resources about what they’re going through. You can find this stuff all over the net and at the schools guidance counselor.

Scenario 2 – Somebody (usually a guy) yells something obscene at someone else as they walk by (usually a girl).

You’ve been there, a guy yells something at a girl about her body, going out, etc as she walks by. I’m not a big person on labeling gender, but unfortunately…men do this more than women. What do you do?

Open your moth and say something.  Do you want some ideas?  Go to this post and watch the video…you’ll see exactly what you can say. Men are standing up right now to end street harassment…shouldn’t you be one of them?

Scenario 3 – A man states he knows she wants “it”.

This is the most heinous of the scenarios and the time we all have to say something!

This is what I’ve come to call “rape talk”. These phrases:

“she wanted it”

“look how she dresses – she wants one thing”

“she said no, but I’ll just keep pushing till she says yes”

“her mouth said no, her eyes say yes.”

any variation of this….

No means no.  Women DO NOT want to be raped. Women are not “asking for it”. When a woman says yes, and she has not been badgered, coerced, quilted, threatened, or in someway made to say yes…it is consensual sex. Every other way…is rape!  As soon as a woman say no…it’s the end of the sexual encounter. PERIOD!

You must speak up and tell your friend…No she doesn’t. She is more than a body, she is a human being with feelings, thoughts, and ideas. We must stand up to every potential rapist and say NO! STOP this!  We can not be silent or rape will continue.

When we start to speak to our friends about their behavior, we begin educating them. When we give them brochures/pamphlets/websites to go to, we begin educating them further. We must begin educating our friends, because we are the 1 person they just might listen to.  This is the only way we will be able to end domestic abuse and violence in general. If we stand up and say to the people around us, violence and domestic violence is not acceptable in any way!