Teen Filmmakers Confront Dating Violence

A refreshing view of teens

Teens on Long Island are the creators of The Signs (Digital Bodega, 2014), a film about dating violence.  It is refreshing to read about these teens in their roles as peer educators, as described in Nicole Baryulski’s article, “Long Island Teens Raise Awareness for Teen Dating Violence with Short Film” (n.d.).

Depictions of youth

The film’s characters represent three believable teen personas: a young man controlling his girlfriend with threatening behaviors, a young woman struggling with desire and submission, and another young woman who is a frustrated friend.

Youth in society

The story is told visually in a short series of cellphone text-screens and is narrated by youthful voices, thereby showing that technology can be a tool for abusers but also a source of help for victims.  Local organizations and institutions (e.g., The Retreat and Stony Brook University) supported the making of the film and contributed to its contents.

Readers and viewers of The Signs can benefit from the efforts of socially-conscious teens who effectively tackle a dangerous issue.  Baryulski emphasizes that the teen filmmakers are serving their peers and community by highlighting behaviors that can lead to dating violence, and also by providing information about accessible services for victims of such violence or threats.

Considering media depictions, patron access, service to youth, and collection development

Librarians can provide teen patrons with a variety of materials and resources about dating violence, including novels such as Breathing Underwater (Flinn, 2001), non-fiction such as Dangerous Dating (Gaddis, 2000), and films such as Abusive Relationships (WNYC Radio, 2006).

Baryulski’s article supports the notion that librarians also have the opportunity to offer online access to local voices and local crisis resources.  Collection development policies can and should welcome materials created by local youth and involving technologies such as video and texting, especially with the support of local organizations and educational institutions.


Baryulski, N. (n.d.).  Long Island teens raise awareness for teen dating violence with short film. In Hamptons.com. Southampton, NY: Hamptons Online. Retrieved on September 7, 2014 from http://www.hamptons.com/The-Arts/On-The-Screen/19350/Long-Island-Teenagers-Raise-Awareness-For-Teen.html

Digital Bodega (Producer). (2014). The signs [online video]. Retrieved on September 7, 2014 from http://digital-bodega.com/portfolio/the-signs-digital-bodega-x-allstate/

Flinn, A. (2001). Breathing underwater. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Gaddis, P. R. (2000). Dangerous dating: helping young women break out of abusive             relationships. Colorado Springs, CO: Shaw.

WNYC Radio. (2006). Abusive relationships: get help, get out [DVD].  New York, NY: Castle Works.

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