WHO YOU REALLY ARE—From left: Zire Mitchell, Quinn Myers, Demetri Bos, and Jelani Seals listening to Tamar Reed explain the mask exhibit that demonstrates how society perceives you on the outside versus how you actually are in the inside.

Violence in domestic relationships, at times, goes unheard; partly because those being abused may not know the steps to deal with the violence. Educating, Empowering and Eliminating Dating Violence, also known as 3E NOW, recently organized a teen forum on dating violence at Neighborhood Academy, located at 709 N. Aiken Ave., in Stanton Heights, where students could learn what to do if they, or their friends, are in a violent relationship.

The organization 3E NOW offers students, parents and faculty educational programs centered on eliminating teen dating violence and gender inequality. Under the student-programming umbrella, programs offered include Prevention Education Empowerment Training, Mentors In Violence Prevention and Coaching Boys Into Men.

Other community organizations, such as Black Women for Positive Change, YWCA, Center For Victims, and the Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, were invited to participate in the session  on how to recognize the signs of partner violence. Once recognized, the teens learned how to get help.

SHARING INFORMATION—The students listen to some information from David Wingerson, a community educator from Center for Victims.

“Dating violence doesn’t discriminate,” said Diane Powell, from Black Women for Positive Change. “It crosses ethnic and racial lines, it happens regardless of your income level, your ethnicity, your race, your gender.

“A lot of it is hidden, so I think it’s real important to educate young people on defining acceptable limits for themselves so they have a better understanding of what healthy dating is really like,” Powell said.

Aujah Johnson, 14, was among the many students who attended the educational session where they learned valuable lessons from the speakers.

HELPING YOUTH UNDERSTAND—Diane Powell speaking to the youth.

And Anthony Ducket, 15, said teen dating violence is real. “I have seen my fair share of dating violence and I never really knew the best way to go about it, so today I learned more safety measures to go about it now,” he said.

Ducket said he had a friend whose parent was a victim of domestic violence. “I wanted to help. I talked to her about it and asked if she wanted to leave (the relationship), but we didn’t know where to go to get professional help for her; now I do know places to go to get help.”

HELPING YOUTH UNDERSTAND—Diane Powell speaking to the youth.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that nearly 21 percent of female high school students and just over 13 percent of male high school students said they were physically or sexually abused by their partner. Nearly 1.5 million high school students in the U.S. are physically abused by dating partners every year.

(To have 3E NOW come to your school or business, call 412-719-5630 or visit http://www.3enow.org. If you are suffering from domestic abuse and/or dating violence and are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.)

 

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