Gabby Plaep

College Dating Violence

21%  of college students report dating violence by a current partner, and  32%  report a violent partner in a previous dating relationship.

21% of college students report dating violence by a current partner, and 32% report a violent partner in a previous dating relationship.

Last month we talked about Teen Dating Violence, but did you know dating abuse occurs on college campuses too?

The College Student’s Brain:

Adolescent brain development happens from ages 10 to 25, which means our college students are still adolescents!

I know…probably not what college students want to hear!

College Students:

Your still-developing brain means that the excitement of college is lighting up the back of your brain while the front of your brain has to work harder to calculate risk, make plans, and stop inappropriate behavior. In the thrill of a new relationship or the chase that comes before, pause and weigh whether it’s healthy or unhealthy--you can do that; it just takes a little more effort for your brain.

While we’re discussing healthy versus unhealthy relationships, I want to talk to the parents for a second…

Parents:

Did you know that three out of four parents have not talked to their children about abuse? This means our kids are not equipped to recognize abusive behavior.

In fact, 70% of young adults do not know they are being abused by their partner.

Having conversations with your adolescents about what a healthy relationship looks like prepares them to wisely select their relationships, romantic or otherwise.

Prevalence

In the US, women aged 16-24 experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence (aka domestic violence and dating violence). 21% of college students report dating violence by a current partner, and 32% report a violent partner in a previous dating relationship.

But there is another reason we need to equip our students…

About half (52%) of college students who know someone who is experiencing abuse do not say anything or act. Their reasons for staying quiet include not wanting to get involved and fear of ruining a friendship with either party, or of making the situation worse.

College Campus Challenges

It is very difficult to report violence or abuse. Why?

  • The campus is a small world: they may share a social circle with the person they are reporting, which can affect friendships or mean a risk of running into the abusive person

  • Distance from home: their support network may be miles away, making them feel alone

  • Parents: some worry about their parents finding out

  • Stalking: many students are concerned that this will be a repercussion of reporting

  • The Administration: the college culture has been portrayed in the news, and even on shows like Law and Order: SVU, as being insensitive, dishonest, and dismissive in situations like assaults or intimate partner violence. Unfortunately, this has been the experience of many, leading students to believe the administration will not understand or act.

Students are more vulnerable on a college campus than in the “real world.” Title IX gives colleges some requirements, but the safe guards are more limited than the legal system.

Action Steps

For Students:

  • Fill your shopping cart! During my years of dance training, my instructors used to tell us to watch others and put anything they did that we liked into our shopping cart. Find couples that you respect and admire and observe how they interact. When you see something you like, put it in your healthy relationship shopping cart. Then when you encounter behavior in college that doesn’t match, you can leave it on the shelf ;)

  • Find a strong support network: You may have to go off campus to find one that you can trust won’t fall apart should a situation arise. For me, I had a close family friend who lived near my school, and faculty members who did not know the person I was reporting.

For Parents/Caring Adults:

  • Respond well: We know that the response of the first person disclosed to is critical. The amazing woman I disclosed to said, “I don’t know what to do, but I’m going to find out right now and get you help.” This is a great model for anyone to follow.

  • Discuss relationships with adolescents: Remember they’re new to this! The more they can learn, the more equipped they will be. You also can establish yourself as a safe person to come to with questions, which is beneficial for the student as he or she thinks about and experiences dating.

If a young adult or college student needs help, feel free to contact our Youth and Young Adult Ministries Coordinator, Gabby Plaep, at 763-767-2150 or gabby@doorofhopeministries.org.

A great place for teens to learn more and receive support is our Hope-Filled Teens Support Groups. New groups, one for boys and one for girls, start March 26th. Learn more at www.doorofhopeministries.org/events. Register a teen by contacting Tanda at tanda@doorofhopeministries.org

Gabby.jpg

Written by Gabby Plaep, Door of Hope’s Youth and Young Adult Ministries Coordinator.

Gabby can be reached at at gabby@doorofhopeministries.org or 763-767-2150.

February Is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

What is Teen Dating Violence?
TDV is any pattern of abuse or threat of abuse in a teen dating relationship. Violence can be physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, or digital.

heart-1966018_1920.png

What Does it Look Like?
Unlike adult intimate partner violence, aggression tends to be mutual, but the reasons are different.(1) While both boys and girls are aggressive out of anger, girls use aggressive behavior to defend themselves, while boys use aggression to gain control.

Boys and girls are also affected differently. Girls are more likely to be injured and suffer long-term effects. Boys are more likely to laugh it off.(1)

How Common is TDV?
Each year, about 1.5 million high school students experience physical violence. Of those that report TDV, 76% report emotional violence in the forms of verbal abuse, isolation, or embarrassment.

What Puts Teens at Risk?
Factors that lead to a teen’s vulnerability to dating violence include witnessing or experiencing violence in the home, having a friend involved in TDV, or believing dating violence is okay.(2)

A major risk factor for teens is that dating is a completely new world to them. If they do not have guidance from healthy adults, they tend to flounder alone through new feelings, challenges, and experiences.

The teen brain is going through a rewiring process from back to front. This means the part of the brain involved in emotions and rewards matures before the part that calculates risk, makes plans, and stops inappropriate behavior. The teen brain also has a Personal Fable, an Invisible Audience, and the Myth of Invincibility. What do these mean in dating? Well...

Personal Fable: ”every relationship and breakup in my life is of lasting and global importance” Despite how it sounds, the teen is not being dramatic; it is a part of their brain development.

Invisible Audience: everyone is watching and evaluating me” This makes teens susceptible to peer pressure both good and bad. Violent behavior may be exhibited in front of friends when the teen would not normally behave that way (3).

Myth of Invincibility: ”this behavior or activity is risky, but nothing will happen to me”

How Can I Help the Teens in My Life?

Be a Model: teens not only need to see many examples of healthy relationships, but they may have a fairytale-esque view of relationships. When conflict arises, they may not be prepared, so having models of proper conflict resolution is vital.

Have Conversations: teens need mentors, but they are striving for independence. Casual, matter-of-fact conversations are great places to share advice and guidance.

Help Them Set Boundaries: and the earlier the better! Having boundaries set before a relationship starts is better than attempting to figure out boundaries as you go.

A great place for teens to learn more and receive support is our Hope-Filled Teens Support Groups. New groups, one for boys and one for girls, start March 26th. Learn more: www.doorofhopeministries.org/events. If a teen needs help, feel free to contact Gabby at gabby@doorofhopeministries.org or 763-767-2150.

Gabby+Plaep.jpg

Written by Gabby Plaep, Door of Hope’s Youth and Young Adult Ministries Coordinator. Gabby can be reached at at gabby@doorofhopeministries.org or 763-767-2150.

Sources
1.  Teen Dating Violence: A Closer Look at Adolescent Romantic Relationships, Carrie Mulford Ph. D and Peggy C. Giordano Ph. D., NIJ Journal Issue 261
2.  Understanding Teen Dating Violence Fact Sheet, 2014--National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
3.  NIJ Journal

 

Stalking is Abuse Too...

One is six women are stalked in their lifetime…

One is six women are stalked in their lifetime…

by Youth and Young Adult Ministry Coordinator, Gabby Plaep

Did you know January is Stalking Awareness Month and that this year is the 15th annual National Stalking Awareness Month?

I must admit, I was shocked to hear that this has been around for 15 years. Stalking is not a topic discussed often, or that people know much about.

So, let’s look at the basics and some common misconceptions.

What is Stalking?

According to Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC), stalking is “a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.”

While many think of stalking as being followed or spied on, it involves much more. Besides the person stalking showing up unexpectedly or uninvited at places the person being stalked spends time, stalking also includes any unwanted contact. This may be in the form of text or social media messages, gifts, approaching the person’s family or friends, damaging the person’s property, or threatening the person.

Who Can Experience Stalking?

The answer is anyone.

Highest rates of stalking happen between the ages of 18 and 24.

One in six women will experience stalking at some point in their life. I first heard this statistic in a Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) training as a senior in college. It was followed by the chilling illustration that since there were about 10 of us girls sitting in the room, it was likely one of us would experience it. This turned out to be true, as I had been stalked two years earlier, as a sophomore.

About 1 in 17 men will also be stalked in their lifetime.

Who Does the Stalking?

Most people are stalked by someone they know. While this does include exes, they may be stalked by an acquaintance or a family member as well.

But What They’re Experiencing Doesn’t Seem Like a Big Deal

Something that seems harmless to you may be terrifying to someone experiencing stalking.

That gift you think is so romantic? It might signal to the recipient that a stalker now knows where they live or work.

That behavior you would classify as annoying but not really a big deal? It may be a part of an escalating behavior pattern that has left the affected person fearing where this is going and what will happen next. Remember the part of the definition that it causes fear in a reasonable person? It is important to understand why the person is scared.

receiving understanding and compassion from you will mean the world to them

It is likely that someone being stalked will sense being dismissed by those around them, so receiving understanding and compassion from you will mean the world to them.

When I was stalked, I revisited campus security because what they promised to do had not been done. They implied that I should be forgiving and just let it go. I’m thankful that God brought friends, family, some close faculty, and a chaplain to support me through the process. I wouldn’t have been as assertive without their support.

But They Don’t Seem Scared

This can be confusing. At Door of Hope, we talk about feeling defenses, which are emotions exhibited in place of the core feeling. For example, someone being stalked may appear angry when they’re actually scared.

There are other behaviors that may reveal if someone is being stalked. For example, do they go out of their way to avoid certain locations or change their appearance? Look for behaviors that demonstrate a fear of someone, even if the one being stalked seems angry or irritated.

Action Steps

1.     Making a change starts with awareness of stalking and becoming informed. SPARC is a great resource for more information.

2.     Then educate those around you. Talk with your friends and family, start a campaign on your college campus, etc.

3.     Know the signs and be someone that can be turned to in a stalking situation. The one being stalked will need someone who strives to understand their fear rather than brush it off as “no big deal.”

My Story

Although stalking was something I went through, it is not my identity. I have experienced God’s healing and am finding my identity in Him. His perfect love is casting out my fear (1 John 4:18) and is continuously renewing and restoring me.

My story is not unique, as God’s healing love is available to all. At Door of Hope we see Jesus bring healing every day.  If you, or someone you know, is being stalked and needs help, feel free to contact me at gabby@doorofhopeministries.org or 763-767-2150.

Women's Christmas Event at Abundant Life

Gabby Plaep speaking at the Christmas Tea  More photos

Gabby Plaep speaking at the Christmas Tea
More photos

On December 7th, Gabby Plaep, our Youth and Young Adult Ministry Coordinator, spoke at Abundant Life Church’s Women's Christmas Tea.

The ladies took donations for Door of Hope Ministries, raising more than $400! Thank you ladies!

We are so blessed by this church family, who keeps showing up and helping out. They are incredible people of God!

Thank you to Abundant Life and to all of you who organized and attended the event!

Together we work to bring God's healing to the world...

To request a Door of Hope speaker for your event or gathering, click here and fill out the form, or you can contact us at diane@doorofhopeministries.org or 763-767-2150.

Thanking God for You!

Founder and Executive Director, Diane Stores

Founder and Executive Director, Diane Stores

I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. - Romans 1:8

I don't know about you, but for me November and December are a time of reflection, gratitude, and remembrance of all God has done the past year. It's overwhelming to consider all the ways He has blessed and poured out His favor, and all the ways He has used you to accomplish His purposes at Door of Hope.

Here's Some of What God Has Accomplished in 2018, Through You:

Support Groups

  • Served 166 people: 123 women, 23 kids, 10 teens, and 10 children thru childcare

  • Added two new support groups: Safe People and Loving on Purpose Parenting Class

  • Increased the number of trained support group leaders to 15

  • Added more group space through our expansion this fall (we’re already running out of space!)

  • Held our first off-site support group

Trauma Recovery Counseling & Prayer Ministry and Women’s Conferences

  • Facilitated more than 140 Trauma Recovery Counseling & Prayer Ministry sessions

  • Two conferences provided for women seeking healing from abuse, with one more conference coming in December

Safe Housing and Crisis Counseling

  • Helped 10 women in crisis write safety plans to help minimize the danger of leaving an unsafe situation

  • Added three safe houses, hosted by families willing to take in women needing a safe refuge

Staffing and Volunteers

  • 1500+ volunteer hours have been logged so far!

  • Increased the hours of Associate Director, Darlene Cook, to 30 hours a week

  • Hired Gabby Plaep as our part-time Youth & Young Adult Ministry Coordinator

  • Added Nate Oyloe to our staff as a volunteer (with hopes to bring him on payroll soon) to help us serve more men

  • Added two more staff offices through this fall’s Ministry Center expansion

Wow! It is very exciting to see God bring His hope and healing to so many men, women, and children!

The need continues to increase as word about Door of Hope spreads...

From all of us at Door of Hope - thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

From all of us at Door of Hope - thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

We believe we will be able to continue to serve those God sends us, but we need your help, your prayers, and your continued support.

From all of us at Door of Hope - thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

We pray you and your family will have a blessed Thanksgiving season.

With love and gratitude,

Diane Stores
Executive Director

Staff Introduction: Gabby Plaep

Gabby Plaep: Youth and Young Adult Ministry Coordinator

Gabby Plaep: Youth and Young Adult Ministry Coordinator

Please meet Gabby Plaep, our new Youth and Young Adult Ministry Coordinator. If she looks familiar, it’s because she’s been co-leading our Hope-Filled Kids support group and helped launch and lead our Hope-Filled Teens support group.

We praise God that He is providing so that we can bring her on in greater capacity!

Gabby Shares:

In 2015, I received a BA in Exercise Science with a Minor in Youth Ministry from Hope College. While there, I interned at a
Vineyard Church in Michigan, co-leading their youth group and providing fitness classes for the women's ministry.

After graduation, I wanted to return to youth ministry and felt a pull on my heart to help those who have experienced abuse and trauma. I learned about Door of Hope when I was asked to dance at one of their banquets. I remember listening to the stories and asking God if I could join Him in what He was doing.

About a year later, when I was struggling to find a place to be involved in youth ministry, Diane called me about Hope-Filled Kids. I have never received a clearer yes from God in my life.

Besides my position at Door of Hope, I am a Pilates, Zumba, and dance instructor and am pursuing a Masters in Professional Counseling with an emphasis in trauma.

I firmly believe the Kingdom of God belongs to children (Luke 18:16), and that the young are
to be our examples (1 Timothy 4:12).

Watching these kids hear from God and grow in their relationship with Him is my greatest joy.