The girls went back to their daily lives, and an onslaught of conflicting messages about domestic violence, after the presentation was over. Reach Erin Beck at [email protected], 304-348-5163, Facebook.com/erinbeckwv, or follow @erinbeckwv on Twitter.
It was only half an hour, and Flynt acknowledged that it may not be enough to keep the girls safe.
(The national average was 35.6 percent.)At Capital High School, staff with the YWCA Resolve Family Abuse program, volunteers and school counselors are trying to tackle the problem.
On Wednesday, Alyssa Sthay-Young, teen dating violence specialist/youth services coordinator with the Resolve Family Abuse Program, spoke to members of Girl Talk, a supportive and educational group for teen girls, about the signs of abuse, healthy relationships, what to do if victimized and how to help friends who are victims.
While the group chattered during the discussion about “Teen Mom,” they fell silent when Sthay-Young told the story of Emily Silverstein, a 19-year-old woman who was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend, until one girl broke the silence with a stunned “Oh, my gosh.”Sthay-Young regularly speaks to health classes in the area about the issue.“The earlier, the better,” she said.
School counselor Ann Flynt arranged an interview with a Girl Talk participant who attended the same presentation last year.
On another day, the group of girls visited a domestic violence shelter, said Priscilla Richmond, a 10th grade student in the group.
According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 33.6 percent of West Virginia women have been physically abused, stalked or raped by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.During a presentation on dating violence at Capital High School this week, as the presenter talked about an MTV “Teen Mom” who was charged with domestic violence, one of the teen girls listening stood up for the reality star.She said if you hit your boyfriend, then “he won’t get smart.”Educators and domestic violence victim advocates face an uphill battle when trying to prevent teen dating violence.Alyssa Sthay-Young, a YWCA teen dating violence specialist, speaks to female students at Capital High School.Sthay-Young provided facts, warning signs, ways to protect against dating violence, safety plans and tips on supporting friends who have experienced violence.