Teens trained to spot drama before it turns dangerous
CNN - 06/28/2013
Questions about what could’ve been done differently arose recently in Steubenville, Ohio, in Torrington, Connecticut, and in other communities where teen dating violence and sexual assault drew national attention. Blame bounces around the victim’s clothes, the amount she drank, whether she “put herself in that situation,” and to the perpetrators, parents and society for fostering a culture in which violence among teens — sexual and otherwise — makes regular headlines.
The goal is to challenge perceptions of “normal behavior” and make teens aware of the nuanced interactions that create a hostile climate. It could be as simple as diverting a friend’s attention when he hollers at a girl on the street, encouraging your sister to talk to her boyfriend instead of secretly checking his texts, sneaking off to call 911 when the popular guys start messing with a girl who’s barely conscious.
A National Merit Scholar finalist and co-captain of the champion lacrosse team, Chen added to his busy schedule this year by joining the school’s “Mentors in Violence Prevention” team formed in response to Lauren’s death.
The program was developed in 1993 at Northeastern University’s Sport in Society. It enlists student athletes and leaders to speak out against sexual harassment and other forms of abuse typically considered “women’s issues.”