On Tuesday, February, 11th, a group of WHSAD students attended a teen dating violence conference at the Brooklyn Law School. “Keeping it Real and Keeping it Safe” (Understanding Teen Dating Violence and Sexual Assault), involved workshops, an anti-violence skit, teen spoken word, and several presenters, including Kenneth P. Thompson, Kings County District Attorney. According to statistics from the conference, one in three adolescent girls and one in six boys have been physically, emotionally or verbally abused from a dating partner – a figure higher than other types of violence affecting youth. The conference highlighted new forms of violence, abuse and intimidation that are increasing with the growing popularity of the on-line environment and social networks and texting, such as on-line stalking, catfishing (posing under different identities to pretend to be someone they’re not on Facebook or other social media to create false identities). Presenters highlighted a variety of legal and ethical issues related to these infringements of rights and there was a lively debate from students representing the many schools attending.
“This really was a life-changing experience for me” commented Mekhyi Bristol. “The lectures opened my eyes to the reality of abuse and the many forms it takes.” Lyndon Searles was particularly moved my the play: “The whole thing was very impressive. I liked that the play involved real experiences of the people involved.” Vincente Gomez felt that it was an instructive experience: “When I get into a a relationship I will be more aware and now I am even able to help others recognize abuse. One thing that stuck to my mind was the statistic that many women that are murdered or were victimized by their ex-boyfriends.”