Increase sense of agency over self, values, choices, and behaviors
I met my partner at work. We were co-workers, then friends, then a couple. It was very organic and our relationship was balanced, respectful and comfortable. Oddly enough, after almost a year of being exclusive, my insecurities surfaced and feelings of jealousy were creeping in. My partner did not trigger these emotions. It was just me feeling extremely unworthy and unlovable. PACT reminds us to love our self, first. So, with the support of my peers, I made the decision to break up with him. I needed to learn to love myself, before I could love anyone else.
~ Julisa, age 21
Enhance capacity to influence and direct elements of personal relationships
Someone that I used to know DM'd me on Instagram. I was not interested in responding, but I felt obligated to be "friends". Why are we more worried about hurting someone's feelings than listening to our own? PACT reminded me to honor my feelings. If I am not interested in engaging with someone, I have a choice. I was given the guidance and support to communicate honestly with this person. Rather than act passively, I was assertive and able to influence the type of relationship I wanted.
~ Adelina, age 18
Engage in actions that align with personal values and relationship goals.
Towards the end of high school, my boyfriend at the time and I had broken up. We decided to stay friends, nothing more. He invited me to hang out, nothing out of the usual, but was acting like he was much more than a friend. At the end of the night, upon saying goodbye to each other, he tried to kiss me. At that exact moment, all of the lessons from PACT immediately came to mind. I stood my ground, backed away, and explained that "friends" literally means "friends". I explained that if he couldn't respect my boundaries then we couldn't continue the friendship.
~ Destiny, age 19
Participate in behaviors that promote a positive mental well-being, online and in real life
I was in a relationship with a girl for three years. She was dishonest and emotionally cheated on me. PACT helped me recognize that these behaviors were unhealthy and definitely not what I stand for in a partnership. When I was ready to break up and walk away, I was coached to say “thank you for the experience” to my girlfriend, instead of “I'm sorry things didn't work out”. PACT reminds us to demand respect and never settle for less than you deserve. Self-worth, communication, boundaries, consent and sex are part of ALL relationships, including LGBTQ. I appreciate that PACT is always courteous and listens without regard to anyone's sexuality or circumstances.
~ Alexys, age 18
Recognize qualities of a toxic relationship and seek support.
Thanks to Girls PACT, I learned that removing toxic people from my life is honoring my worth. So many unhealthy behaviors are rooted in our culture, making them tricky to identify. And, handling relationships is not something we learn in school. Manipulation, blame, control, dishonesty, jealousy can be easily disguised as "love". I was fooled and blinded by my heart in the past. Now, I assess my relationships and only continue those that are equal partnerships.
~ Michelle, age 21
Identify and communicate personal boundaries with peers and partners.
We get angry if people take our stuff - french fries, phones, hoodies, jewelry - without permission. We are trained from a young age to ask for permission to use a toy or borrow a pen. Why aren't we trained to ask permission to give someone a hug, hold someone's hand, or give someone a kiss? Consent isn't just about sex. PACT has taught me that consent can be used in all areas of my life. I have the choice to say “yes” or “no”, whether someone asks me to borrow money or take my pants off...and, it doesn't matter who is asking - friend or partner!
~ Maria, age 18
Challenge the perpetuation of double standards and gender stereotypes.
Feelings, friendships, emotions and relationships is not just for girls. I joined Girls PACT in high school and was the only male. The experience helped me understand the opposite gender better. Now, as a college student, I am sensitive to rape culture and the perpetuation of gender stereotypes. It's hard to speak up all the time, but, because of PACT, I can have conversations with my peers about feminism, double standards and dating roles. Girls PACT is a place to learn, understand and build a better relationship with my girlfriend (and other women in my life).
~ Kevin, age 19
Outcome: Increase confidence in ability to navigate personal relationship, online and in real life
So, I was crushing on this guy, but I was way too scared to talk to him in real life. We were friends on social media and liked and commented on each other's posts. Does that mean he's interested in me? How do you know if someone likes you? How do let someone know you like them? PACT creates a safe space to navigate relationships struggles. We share a dilemma, peers are directed to answer "what would you do?", and sometimes we role play. Sometimes, we even help someone draft a text. It's fun and definitely has increased my courage!
~ Karla, age 19
Promote positive attitudes about sex, feeling comfortable with one's own sexual identity, and accepting the sexual behaviors of others, even if different from my own.
When I was in high school, I would hear guys getting props for sleeping around. But, when a girl was doing the sleeping around, she was a slut, whore and tramp. The crazy thing, too, was when a girl chose not to have sex, she was a prude or playing hard to get. The double standards and rules were so confusing! I found myself judging the sexual choices and activities of others. PACT taught me to respect the personal values and choices of others, rather than shame them. Now, my philosophy is, do you. If you are protecting yourself with condoms, birth control, regular testing and constant communication with your partners, then I am in no position to judge.
~ Jennifer, age 20