Gratz observes, “I feel that I am making an impact by being a part of the youth council because we’re helping spread awareness that could help someone avoid an unhealthy/violent relationship, which will help stop the cycle of abuse.”
Kirchoff maintains, “I think this topic is extremely important to address to teenagers. Sometimes teens see dating abuse around them and in their own relationships, and they disregard it because they don’t understand the true logistics of it. One thing we always try to stress to teens is that dating abuse does not have to be physical. There’s an extreme amount of emotional abuse that can occur, and it happens all around us.”
Longstreth says, “It did not dawn on me the true impact that I could make within our community until one of the heads of Safe Passage approached me and said, ‘You can change the world.’ It seemed like a daunting task but, in all honesty, I feel like we can change the world and eliminate teen dating violence, little by little, within our community.
“I think that we are giving teens perspective and helping them realize not only how they should treat a partner but also how they deserve to be treated. No one deserves to be put down. It is so important to have enough confidence in yourself to be able to restrict a partner from behaving abusively or leaving that partner.”
Diane Raver can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.