February has been officially declared Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month according to the approval of city council members at the February 7 city council meeting. According to a report read aloud at the meeting by Mayor Jose Flores “Each year, approximately 1 in 3 teenagers are physically, emotionally or verbally abused by a romantic partner.”
It was later stated that survivors of teen dating violence were at increased risk of truancy, school dropout rates, teen pregnancy, suicide, eating disorders and other harmful side effects.
According to Flores’ statement, by selecting February to raise awareness about teen dating violence, it allows the community to “recognize and show support for survivors and advocates.” [in order to] to end the cycle of abuse.
Flores said the public needs to recognize the efforts of professionals, educators and “learn more” students to prevent and end teen dating violence in middle and high schools. This includes Clovis West High School which this year represented the Clovis Unified School District at the city council meeting.
Students Kai Young and Riley Strunk both spoke to council members. As student ambassadors of Clovis West High School, they were at the forefront of this battle against teen dating violence.
“Know More is a peer-led model developed by the Marjorie Mason Center that educates high school students about the red flags of dating violence as well as the components of healthy romantic relationships,” said Student Ambassador Kai Young. According to Young, no less than 520 Clovis Unified Student Ambassadors are working to end teen dating violence.
Student Riley Strunk said this year more than 800 orange t-shirts were distributed to students and staff to help promote and raise awareness of teen dating violence. She went on to reveal that only Clovis West will be participating in a week-long event with different dress-up days, yoga sessions, and a scavenger hunt to help “promote and raise awareness for TDAM.”
Orange t-shirts were distributed to the board after the presentation.
Wear Orange Day, which takes place on February 8, helps raise awareness of teen dating violence and helps support survivors. One can participate in Wear Orange Day by wearing the color orange in public.