Independence House to Hold Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month Event

Independence HouseHYANNIS – Independence House, Cape Cod’s resource for those impacted by domestic and sexual violence, is holding an event for high school students Wednesday evening.

“We Are the Change” will celebrate art and teach students about Independence House’s Mentors in Violence Prevention Program and how it is being implemented in local schools.

“We are going to try to provoke some critical thinking about healthy relationships, equality and acceptance,” said Donna Giberti, an Independence House spokesperson.

The event, which will feature artwork, performance pieces, guest speakers and more, is part of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

The event will be held at the Double Tree in Hyannis from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

“Most students don’t abuse,” said Chris Morin, the prevention, education and outreach director for Independence House. “But most of us don’t know how to stop it or intervene.

Morin said statistics show that 9 percent of Massachusetts teens are hurt in many ways during a date.

“So if you have 500 students you have about 50 students in your school that are being affected by teen dating violence,” Morin said.

About 14 percent of female high school students and 5 percent of male high school students experience some kind of sexual abuse.

Morin said those figures do not mean that all the abuse is physical.

The Mentors in Violence Prevention program is currently in five schools on Cape Cod.

“We focus on asking students to be leaders in preventing violence and teaching them to be active bystanders and teaching about healthy releationships,” said Kira Jewett, the coordinator of the Mentors in Violence Prevention program.

Jewett said the goal is for students to step in when they see any abuse happening, including going to a teacher or talking to the students later.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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