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Advocates Teens Cultivate a Culture of Consent as They Prepare to Show Film
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Monday, March 27, 2023
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

The dating advice came with a picture of a box of French fries.

“Consent is like fries,” it said. Then, giving words for each letter of fries: “Freely given. Reversible. Informed. Enthusiastic. Specific.”

The acrostic was one of a multitude of tools The Advocates ETC (Every Teen Counts) interns used to engage their peers as they touted ways to achieve healthy relationships recently at Ketchum’s Limelight Hotel.

“Teens should lead. They have the most knowledge about teen culture. They know how to use peer pressure to show that our community doesn’t stand for abuse,” said Monica Reyna, of The Advocates.

Among those taking part in the event was ETC intern Charlotte Stone.

“I have never been sexually abused or assaulted, and I hope to never experience it. But I have a friend who was stalked and afraid to go to school. She was in a relationship that was not good for anyone. I ask my friends to think: How can you love better? Be a better listener. Tell people when they do something I appreciate,” she said.

Stone was one of a couple dozen teens contributing artwork and poems for the event.

Hers read:

“Consent is a line that isn’t crossed.

Consent allows for each person to be safe.

Consent is what creates healthy and happy relationships.

Boundaries are like walls.

Walls that keep the foundation of a relationship together.”

“Teens don’t know how to set boundaries. But no one should ever pressure someone,” Stone said. “I tell people to use ‘I’ statements to help set boundaries, For instance, you might say, ‘I have trouble with my self-esteem when you speak to me in this way.”

ETC interns Joseph Melgar-Egoavil and Renee Walther Porino handed out “No Pressure” hats and other items to help make their point.

“The key point we’re trying to make is about having that conversation. It’s not that people don’t want to set boundaries—they just don’t know how,” said Melgar-Egoavil. “The fact that people are here shows that they care. We don’t want to grow up in a community where there’s domestic violence. This is a great way to connect to the valley and spread awareness.”

One student contributed a poem called “The Piece(s) of my Heart.”

“You will always

have a piece of my heart.

The first time I gave my heart to you, you told me you didn’t want it anymore,

so I took it back.

Yet you keep stealing it from me,

and every time I give it back to you,

you shatter it even more than the last time,

and end up with a million more pieces of my poor, broken heart.

For those grappling with fear, Evelen Ramirez and Lemon Rogers had a solution. They had a big bowl of purple water and invited people to write a fear down on a piece of paper, dropping it in the purple juice.

“It symbolizes dissolving fear,” said Rogers.

FILM TO EXAMINE HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

On Wednesday, March 29, One Love and The Advocates are holding a film and discussion  about how to spot healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors.

They will also offer tips for starting important relationships conversations with young people. The free event will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, at The Advocates office at 211 S. River St. in Hailey. Snacks will be provided.

One Love is a nonprofit national organization that offers young people the tools they need to see signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships. It addresses friendships, romantic relationships and relationships with classmates and teammates.

Signs of unhealthy relationships include someone trying to control another’s decisions or actions, sabotaging someone’s reputation or achievements, guilting, making excuses for unhealthy behavior, possessiveness, belittling and volatility.

Signs of a healthy relationship include allowing the relationship to move along at a speed that is comfortable for both parties, trust, respect, fun, the ability to respectfully discuss issues, honesty and kindness.

To attend the meeting, RSVP to shannon@theadvocatesorg.org. Learn more at joinonelove.org.

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