Friday, April 17, 2009

Get Involved in Teen Dating Violence Prevention!

Lately, I’ve been talking to a lot of adults about how to get teens involved in the movement to end teen dating violence. Many adults believe that teenagers really don’t care or they just aren’t motivated enough to stand up and be heard on this issue. Well, I don’t think that’s true at all.

I have met many students who thought that dating violence was wrong and really wanted to help make a difference in their schools and communities. What was the number one thing stopping them? . . . the fact that they didn’t know very much about dating violence until I came to talk to them about it. I think that if more teenagers knew about dating violence and just how prevalent it is among their peers, more of them would want to do something about it. Just think . . . if one in three teens will experience some form of dating violence in their lives, how many people would that be at your school? I bet it’s a big number. Now think about your town or city. Wow, right? So what can you do?

One of the things that I tell adults who want to work with teens is that they have to meet young people on their turf. And who do you think is going to tell adults how to talk to teenagers? That’s right . . . YOU! Don’t wait for an adult to make the first move. Go to them with your ideas. Besides, sometimes teens need adults to get them access to things that can be difficult to get on their own, like video equipment or the use of a building or public space and the list goes on. In fact, I have worked with quite a few groups of students who did awesome class projects about dating violence. Some of them made short documentaries, performed skits and others conducted interviews with their classmates and showed the results to the student body at an assembly. These teens did something. So can you!

If you really want to make your voice heard, you CAN do something to raise awareness about teen dating violence and its devastating effects. For more ideas on how to get started, visit


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