Your Relationship, Your Choice.

How might we raise teens’ awareness of signs of unhealthy relationships?

The statistics relating to relationship violence are alarming:

  • One in four women will experience domestic violence her in life.
  • 40% of children are exposed to violence every year.
  • Each year, 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner.

A team of One Stone students took on this complex public health crisis, with a particular focus on raising awareness of the issue amongst teens. Unhealthy or abusive relationships can have significant lasting consequences for teens, as they are heavily influenced by their relationships. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that youth who experience dating violence are more likely to experience the following:

  • Symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Engagement in unhealthy behaviors, such as tobacco and drug use, and alcohol
  • Involvement in antisocial behaviors
  • Thoughts about suicide

Additionally, youth who are victims of dating violence in high school are at higher risk for victimization during college.

Through the design thinking process, the team developed a public awareness campaign that was targeted at high school students. They produced three PSAs with the message of the importance of healthy relationship behaviors. Understanding that the PSAs would be more impactful with discussion, the group created a movie night that included a showing of 500 Days of Summer, a film featuring the unhealthy relationship of two twenty-somethings. The movie served as a jumping off point for the discussion of small unhealthy behaviors that arise in a relationship that can lead to full-scale violence and abuse. Using the context of the movie, the PSAs sent a powerful message, which led to a powerful discussion about healthy relationships and dating behavior.


In a post-event survey, 96% of the high school students who attended the event reported an improvement in their confidence to speak about unhealthy relationships, and 100% reported that they learned something at the event that could be helpful in their future dating and relationships.