Reflections from R.A.P.

June 8, 2011

During the 2010/2011 school year, we launched a new teen education program at Safe Harbor entitled “R.A.P.” (Relationship Education Project).  The R.A.P. program is a semester-long curriculum designed to enhance students’ awareness of dating abuse through education and interaction. Throughout the Spring Semester of 2011, Safe Harbor Teen Educator, A.J. Jeffcoat, developed and taught this 15-week curriculum to students at JL Mann Academy, Wade Hampton High School, and Seneca High School.  The curriculum engaged the students so that they could gain the knowledge to develop healthy attitudes and to make healthy choices in their relationships. The R.A.P. program serves as a tool to prepare students not only for immediate relationships during high school but also for relationships in the future, as well as prepare them to advocate for healthy relationships in the larger community. 

During the final R.A.P. classes this Spring, the students had the opportunity to share their feedback through written evaluations.  Their feedback and responses were powerful and confirmed for us that R.A.P. is a needed program in our schools.  Please read some of these student comments about what they have learned through the R.A.P. program:

“The RAP program has allowed me to see the do’s and don’ts in a relationship. So, if I ever end up in a bad situation, I will know what to do and who to contact.”

“I have a better understanding of all the warning signs now so I will know how to catch abuse before it starts.”

“I have learned not to blame myself when my boyfriend says something rude to me and to realize when I notice warning signs such as that, to try and end it or seek help.”
“I definitely feel prepared if dating abuse ever starts taking place in my life.”
“The most valuable thing I learned from this class is there is always someone I can talk to if I need help…that goes for anyone.”
“Abuse can start at any age.”
“I have the right to say no.”
“Everyone has equal rights in a relationship. Know your limits and boundaries.”
“A safety plan is needed even if there are signs of abuse present.”
“This class has opened my eyes and will definitely help me in the future. I have learned to stand up for myself and not let a man control my life.”
“The most valuable thing I have learned from this class to be an advocate for my friends who may be struggling.”
“What I have learned out of this class will definitely help me in the future with relationships. I will be more understanding of girls and not be so jealous. I have also learned that having a healthy relationship is about trust.”
“I need to take warning signs more seriously in my relationship.”
“I have learned to become more responsible in future relationships and allow me to identify others in abusive relationships and help them out, too.”
“Abuse can always be avoided if we pay attention to the warning signs and help people out.”
“If someone truly loves you, they will not hurt you.”
“I have learned that even if I hear the statement “I am sorry, but you caused me to hit/abuse you” from my partner, that this is not a real apology and they are putting the blame on me.”
“I loved how this class didn’t feel like a lecture. It was very interactive and informative.”
“I loved how the teacher was real about everything and showed us multiple things. I loved this class. It was great.”
“Abuse does happen with teens. It is very serious. Get help before it is too late if you are getting abused. If a partner gets mad easy and controls you, then there is a chance of dating violence and if it happens once, it will happen again.”

“I have learned to teach my friends about the warning signs of an abusive relationship.”

“Anybody can be abused and hurt badly. Get out and stay out of abusive relationships.”

“Love does not mean control.”

“Good relationships include good communication.”

“Boys can be affected by unhealthy dating relationships.”

“Dating violence doesn’t just happen to women.”

“Dating abuse isn’t always physical.”

“The media can even be used to hurt people.”

“I now know how to handle an abusive situation if I am a bystander.”

“There is hope with places like Safe Harbor, Inc.”

“Calling and texting all the time can become abusive.”

“Just because he doesn’t hit you doesn’t mean it is not abuse.”

“I have learned to pay more attention to what I am doing in my relationship with my girlfriend.”

“The knowledge of this class has given me courage to end an abusive relationship.”

“I need to share with my friends that it is common to be in an abusive relationship and not to be embarrassed if they are.”

“Knowing what the warning signs are now will help me get out immediately.”

“I have definitely become more careful in choosing relationships.”

“We all need to know and recognize the warning signs.”

“I used to date a guy who was very mean. He called me names and put me down. Now I know how to handle this situation if it happens again.”

“Knowing the warning signs can save your life.”

“I’ve got to do a better job of controlling my anger so I won’t be the abuser in the relationship.”

“I really liked the videos in this class. It showed us a lot of real-life situations.”

“The most valuable thing I learned out of this class was how to recognize the warning signs.”

“This class is awesome. It taught me a lot I never even realized concerning dating abuse.”

I am a survivor of domestic violence.

“I didn’t know that I was being abused...

I am a survivor of domestic violence.

“I didn’t know that I was being abused because my definition of abuse looked different. My husband pushed me, but most of my suffering was verbal and psychological. I left my husband to protect our young daughter. Almost immediately I felt the weight of his oppression begin to lift. I could see a difference in my daughter as well. Then he broke into my home and assaulted me in-front of her.

I sought help and was led to Safe Harbor. My daughter and I are in counseling now. I am sorting out the mess that abuse has caused. I am finding my voice and seeking opportunities to grow and better my life as well as my daughter's. She will gauge her self-worth from my own self-worth. I must show her that she deserves the best, by expecting the best for myself.

Many years I suffered in silence. By telling my story and being honest with friends and family, I am taking control of my life again.”

- Beth



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