As reported by loveisrepesct.org, nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year; one in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence; and, one in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped, or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
In an effort to help change these statistics for the better, teens across Cape Cod engaged in a contest which provoked critical thinking on how they can be the change of teen dating violence. Students submitted artwork in the form of mediums that included drawings, graphic design, performance pieces, poetry, and original song.
Contest submissions were displayed during an event in February titled “We are the Change”. Special guest speaker Robin Robinson, PhD. of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth conveyed a wealth of knowledge and emotion to the event with stories of survivors.
A student performance by Falmouth High School senior Bailey Andrews singing Lady Gaga’s “Till It Happens to You” grounded the emotions of survivors of sexual intimate partner dating violence. Bailey drew third place in the contest.
The winner of the contest, Amanda Soroka of Mashpee High School submitted a stellar Public Service Announcement (PSA) and drew first place in the contest. Watch the video here:
Just prior to the event, student presidents of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) groups of Barnstable, Dennis Yarmouth Regional, Cape Cod Regional Technical and Falmouth High Schools held a by-invitation pre-event for administrators of Cape Cod high schools. The students performed scenarios of dating violence that commonly occur among their peers; tested the administrators on their knowledge of dating violence; and promoted MVP in hopes schools who do not currently have the program would consider bringing it to their school.