The transition to college is a very impactful time in your student’s life. It is important to talk to your student about healthy relationships and power-based personal violence. Power-based personal violence refers to sexual violence, relationship violence, and stalking. While this topic may be difficult to discuss, it is important to keep an open line of communication between you and your student.
What Does FSU Do?
Florida State University has several programs for students to learn more about healthy relationships, power-based personal violence prevention, and ways to support individuals who may have experienced violence. Below are two examples of the great resources to students here at FSU.
- The Green Dot Bystander Intervention program on our campus is an excellent way your student can learn more about how to keep our campus a safe and caring place. https://knowmore.fsu.edu/know-more-initiative/green-dot/
- The Victim Advocate program offers several services to those who have experienced harm or are close to someone who has experienced harm. https://dos.fsu.edu/vap
What Can You Do?
Start the conversation. Normalizing conversations about sex, relationships, and communication can not only prepare your student to have those conversations with future partners but can also strengthen the trust and comfort they have with you as a family member. A lengthy one-time conversation can be difficult for you and your student. Instead of a one and done conversation, look for ways to open the door for ongoing conversations by asking open-ended questions, listening without judgment, and encouraging your student to know campus resources. Examples of an unhealthy relationship and power-based personal violence in movies, TV shows, and pop culture can be an easy way to initiate a conversation on the topic with your student.
Check in with your students regularly about their college experience. Encourage them to set boundaries in relationships they are creating with friends, roommates, and partners. Preparing your student to engage in these different types of relationships should also include noticing behaviors that could indicate power-based personal violence. These red flags could include someone not respecting boundaries, someone who is aggressive, someone who controlling toward their partner or exhibits obsessive behaviors after a tough break up.
Florida State University is proud to support a culture of care on our campus and being active bystanders plays a big role in maintaining that culture. Talk to your student about ways they can safely intervene in situations where someone may be in danger of being harmed by power-based personal violence. These can include checking with friends who are in new or potentially unhealthy relationships, engaging allies like FSUPD to intervene in high-risk situations, or creating distractions that my de-escalate a situation. Reminding your student of the values that you have instilled in them may be helpful when the times to make the difficult decision on intervening.
While having these conversations with your student may not always be easy, leaving the door open to discuss these very real experiences will prepare them for their next steps into adulthood and enhance communication between the two of you. To learn more about campus resources or education visit knowmore.fsu.edu