Dating Violence addressed in ‘Love and Respect Week’

| February 17, 2018

By Bralynn Sampson |

We all have a responsibility for people we care about. That’s why Student Council worked with STAN counselor Werk Cook to bring awareness to the intricate topic of dating violence.

Student Council dresses in orange to stand up against dating violence. Courtesy Photo

“If you’re worried about someone, or you see somebody is abusing someone, or someone is in emotional trouble tell somebody,” Cook said.

On Feb. 12-16 there was a Love and Respect week to show support in ending dating violence.

Activities included dress-up days and special lessons in different classes.

In health class, students learned violence in relationships can stem from a variety of different issues; suppressed problems, abuse, and past experiences.

An abusive relationship can gradually develop into a toxic relationship, if the relationship persists even after the signs of abuse.

The first stage is lack of communication, and passive aggressiveness from the abuser.

This silent aggressiveness will make the sufferer crawl into a shell of fear, and try to silence any actions that might provoke their partner in anyway.

The next stage involves distance, not sharing vital information; that could cause a change in mood, attitude, and feelings.

Not expressing feelings and emotions to the partner is where the aggression builds and could become fatal.

Abuse is not just physical, it can also be verbal; verbal abuse happens gradually.

The victim might express pain and hurt through subtle actions (facial expression, incoherent mumbles under breath, anxiety.)

Someone who’s a good listener to a person in a abusive relationship, who offers friendship, and shows support, would benefit the victim tremendously, and that awareness is what the week was all about.

“Personally, I see my friends being abused, and I wish there was help for them,” senior Student Council member Megan Burciaga said.

Burciaga says she now sees more people openly speaking about it, and getting the help they need.

Throughout the week, posters pointed students to, which is sponsored by the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

English Teacher Natasha Christian included a lesson looking for signs of power and abuse in literature, and posed with her classes wearing orange. Courtesy Photo.

English teacher Natasha Christian, one of the biggest advocates for Love and Respect Week, modified her lessons to include a search for abusive relationships in literature. She said her teaching involves more than just the lesson plan.

“To have the opportunity to talk about healthy relationships, abusive relationships, and what this does to a person’s psyche, self-esteem, and emotions is important to me,” Christian said.  “Some students feel like it’s something we shouldn’t talk about.”

But Christian knows relationships affect a person’s work, school life, and home life.

“It’s hard to keep your problems at home,” she explains.


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