When you think of February a few things probably come to mind. . .
Valentine's Day, Black History Month, Groundhog Day and even snow but did you know that February is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month?
As most of you know I am on the MAAV Board of Directors and I participate in many prevention and education events. I was fortunate to attend two very special events this month.
The first event was a community breakfast to kick-off Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Community leaders, teachers, students, parents and community members gathered for an event with several speakers - the best, in my opinion, a teen dating violence survivor who spoke shared her very personal story.
All who attended had the opportunity to participate in the "photo booth" project.
Love is. . . Love isn't. . . Do you know the Difference?
After filling out the poster boards you could enter the photo booth (how fun right!?) The photos are on display here so go and check them out. Like the page while you are there!
I was so impressed to see so many people gather at this event. I think the community of Melrose is taking the lead on this topic and other communities should follow right along!
The other event I had the opportunity to attend was a special assembly for Melrose High School students. Sharon Love (pictured above), Yeardley Love's mother and Sharon Robinson, Yeardley's cousin came to Melrose to speak to students. This was their first time to speak at a school. We feel so honored that they took the time to come and share Yeardley's story.
Do you remember Yeardley? She was the UVA Senior who was beaten to death by her boyfriend. He is currently serving a 23 year sentence in jail (not long enough in my opinion).
Yeardley's family founded the One Love Foundation in 2010 in Yeardley's honor. Their mission is to end relationship violence through education and technology.
Sharon's main message to the students was to speak up. She shared how she never knew Yeardley was in a violent relationship. Her message goes along w/ the message we are spreading in the Melrose community - YOUR VOICE MATTERS!
The One Love Foundation has created an app with a "danger assessment" on it. It is anonymous and can be taken by victims, friends or professionals. It will give you a series of questions to answer and then a score of how dangerous the relationship is.
I think it is great that One Love is using technology to reach teens - how smart since teens live on their smart phones right!? I hope that this app will help victims realize that the abuse is not their fault and hopefully lead to getting help.
On a personal note. . . I think of Yeardley often. Her story has touched me. I think it hit close to home b/c her sister, Lexie, is also an Elon alumni. Knowing that this happen to someone in the extended Elon "family" makes it that much more real.
I really appreciate Sharon taking the time to come and speak to the students. I think it is amazing that she has turned something so horrible into something good. Even if she helps one student. . . but I have a feeling she will help MANY!
If you or anyone you know are in a violent relationship please get help. Most police stations have a domestic violence officer. There are also numerous organizations out there to help victims. Don't suffer alone.
Here are a few resources:
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
This is such an important topic. Just this week I saw a news story about Rihanna getting back together w/ Chris Brown and who can avoid the story about "Blade Runner" being charge w/ murdering his girlfriend last week. . .
If you've made it this far thanks for reading. Didn't mean for this post to get quite so long but so important to share about this topic especially during February.
Don't forget. . .
Your Voice Matters!!!!