“That way we can have trust in them [and] come to them if we’re in that situation.”Lindsay Stawick, who directs the Domestic Violence Network’s youth programming, said most inquiries for dating-violence-prevention training come from teachers—at De Leon’s high school, for its part, it was a social worker.
Stawick said she’s never received a request from a principal to provide training to their students or faculty—a reality she interprets as a hindrance to real progress on the issue.“My goal in schools and with young people is to change the culture that leads to violence,” Stawick said.
Violence is a learned behavior, she explained, so she puts the burden on educators in her school—located in an impoverished black neighborhood—to focus on helping students, both victims and perpetrators, navigate trauma and learning their individual stories to shift behaviors and attitudes.“Schools are the training ground to address the abuse and to create that change of mind [to] change those habits,” Rowe said.
A member of the Domestic Violence Network’s middle- and high-school Youth Network, De Leon plans activities to inform students about unsafe or unhealthy relationships.
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More than one-third of 10th-graders (35 percent) have been physically or verbally abused by dating partners, while a similar percentage are perpetrators of such abuse.
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Although a majority of high-school principals (57 percent) had assisted a teen dating-violence victim in the past two years, more than two-thirds of respondents (68 percent) said they lacked formal training, and a majority (62 percent) reported that teachers and staff in their schools hadn’t been recently trained, either.