Did you know that 1 in 3 teens reports experiencing some kind of abuse in their romantic relationships?

Day One, an organization dedicated to reducing the prevalence of sexual abuse and violence as well as supporting and advocating for those affected by it, and BBDO New York have released Sunshine, a short film to raise awareness of teen dating abuse. The film captures a disturbing, yet all-too-real, teen relationship that seems innocent at first glance, but is abusive when examined more closely.

The film opens with an intentionally clichéd love at first sight romance where the two main characters quickly fall for each other. As the film progresses, the viewer may begin to notice some warning signs—the man becomes more controlling and possessive, keeping tabs on the clothes she wears, the food she eats, and the people she associates with. The signs are subtle at first, until it’s too late. By the end, the sweet, happy vibe of the song “Walkin’ on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves, takes on a more ironic, dark twist.

“The film is meant to highlight the fact that not all abuse is physical,” Stephanie Nilva, Executive Director of Day One tells WYSK. “Emotional and verbal abuse is often even more insidious and difficult to separate from devotion, which is succinctly captured in the film’s final line: don’t confuse love and abuse.”

Since its release, Sunshine has had over 10 million views both near and far. “We were thrilled to learn that the video has resonated with people around the world. They have sent us the most heart-warming comments on YouTube, Facebook, and via email, sharing their experiences of dating abuse,” says Stephanie.

Clearly the video is doing its job. One teen from Canada sent Day One the following message: “The video you guys made is a perfect way to help show young girls that abusive behavior is often covered up by sweet gestures, which are really manipulative gestures. We are not puppets, and no one should be allowed to manipulate us, nor should we allow them to.”

The video is intended for 16-19 year olds, please share and spread this important message. For more information on teen dating abuse and violence visit Day One.

HELP YOURSELF  If you think you are in an abusive relationship, you are not alone. Help is available right now. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.