After the highly-publicized violence between singers Chris Brown and Rihanna, Gerry Leone, the District Attorney of Middlesex County, MA, created a competition for high schoolers to create PSAs about Teen Dating Violence to talk back against the media blitz.
Sparking the involvement of more than 200 high schoolers across the county, six finalists were chosen by a group of DV experts, school personnel and members of the District Attorney’s office. Today, 800 high students across Middlesex County will watch the videos in health class and vote on the winner. The winning PSA will be submitted to Boston television stations for possible airing.
Some stats about teen dating violence from the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office:
• 1 in 3 teenagers report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked or physically hurt by their partner
• Youth, specifically between the ages of 16 to 24, experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence in the nation
• Following news reports on the alleged incident between Chris Brown and Rihanna, a survey of Boston teens revealed that 46% of respondents believed that Rihanna was in some way responsible. In addition, 44% said that fighting was a normal part of a relationship.
Teen dating violence is something that so many have experienced and many more have witnessed. It’s important for teens to know their rights so they can be empowered to take a stand, for themselves and for each other.
What a creative project that empowers teens to resist overwhelming media representations that harm women, perpetuate male dominance, and blame the victim of abuse! Imagine the conversations had by each of those 200 students in the process of making those films as they learned more about the violence that affects their lives, their friends and their classmates. Through these projects these teens learned how to better support each other and how to question harm that seems “normal,” whether it is fighting in a relationship or appalling portrayals of violence against women in the media. Way to go, DA and high school students!
Most of all, who better to speak out against teen dating violence than the people it affects? Let’s continue to encourage them to do so.
Watch two of the submissions below or go here to watch the rest:
“End the Cycle of Abuse”
“A Cry for Help”
Which one would you vote for?
For more information on Teen Dating Violence, including legal information and where to find help, check out the Information for Teens section of WomensLaw.org.