Purple Ribbon event tries to stem teen violence | RecordCourier.com

Purple Ribbon event tries to stem teen violence

by Susie Vasquez

About one in three high school students have been or will be involved in an abusive relationship. Forty percent of teenage girls aged 14 to 17 say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend, according to a Bureau of Justice special report.

To help stem the tide, Douglas County’s Family Support Council is offering a “Teen Dating Violence” assembly at Douglas High School Tuesday, followed by an evening program Wednesday from 6-7:30 p.m. at the CVIC Hall in Minden.

“Awareness plus education equals prevention,” said Shannon Harris, domestic violence and sexual assault caseworker for Douglas County’s Family Support Council. “We need to get the information out to all secondary schools, to educate them on what to look for.”

Lyndah Ghostbear, a sexual response coordinator with Advocates to End Domestic Violence in Carson City, said teens are more likely to go to their peers for help than an adult.

“One of our major goals is to let these kids know what they can do for their abused friends – how to help them get out of the situation safely,” she said.

Violence within the context of a dating relationship occurs when one person uses abusive behaviors to demonstrate power or control over the other person. Dating violence includes physical violence, sexual assault and verbal or emotional abuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga.

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“Our society has taught gender roles from birth. Men are supposed to be strong and dominant, women submissive and quiet,” Ghostbear said. “That’s where the violence starts, when someone has power or control.

“Everyone is watching TV all the time and our society is desensitized to violence,” she said. “Teens have a lot of violence in their world. It’s a scary time to be a teenager.”

According to information supplied by the Centers for Disease Control:

— Women ages 16 to 24 experience the highest per capita rates of intimate violence – nearly 20 per 1000 women.

— A study of 8th and 9th grade students showed 25% had been victims of nonsexual dating violence and 8 percent had been victims of sexual dating violence.

— Nationwide, 9 percent of students reported being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to the survey.

— Homicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24. It’s the leading cause of death for African-Americans, the second leading cause of death for Hispanics and the third leading cause of death for American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Asian Pacific Islanders in this age group.

— Susie Vasquez can be reached at svasquez@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 211.

BREAKOUT

The days when domestic abusers could buy their way out of trouble by settling out-of-court could be over under a bill unanimously passed by Nevada’s Assembly this week.

AB21 would prohibit civil compromise in cases of domestic battery or a violation of a protective order in a domestic violence case. Civil compromise is the dropping of criminal charges if an out-of-court settlement is reached between the accuser and the accused.

The bill was sponsored by Assemblywoman Susan Gerhardt (D-Henderson).

“Domestic violence continues to be a serious problem, too often with tragic consequences,” she said. “It is critical that we get serial abusers behind bars. This bill will give prosecutors a badly needed tool to help break the cycle of domestic violence.”