On Valentine’s Day every year, students flock into the school hallways with balloons, chocolates and cheesy cards to give to their crushes or partners. It’s a day for those in relationships to be lovingly spoiled and a day for everyone else to exchange gifts with family and friends.
However, this past Valentine’s day, I walked into Wilson High School through the flock of young teen couples and saw small papers taped up by Wilson’s ASB class in literally every hallway, bathroom stall and doorway of the school. Each paper was a public service announcement providing a helpline number for teens in abusive relationships.
One thing I learned from these posters was that one out of three teenage girls is going to be in an abusive relationship at one point in her life. The thought made my stomach churn. However, throughout the day, I saw classmates of mine stop and look at the fliers; some even took the time to write down the number on them.
For me, Valentine’s Day suddenly became important again. It wasn’t just about getting gifts from your friends or boyfriend or girlfriend. It was instead about reminding people that everyone has the right to feel safe in his or her relationship.