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Program educates teens on dating abuse

Local News l

Several years ago, NCJW purchased a program, called “Dealing with Teen Dating Abuse: Matters of Choice” from the Essex County Section in NJ. This program contains a facilitator’s guidebook and an 18-minute DVD designed as a teaching tool based on well-researched information received from professionals trained in dealing with relationship abuse and domestic violence. The program is suitable for children age 12 -18. It is preferred to show the program to an all male audience or an all female audience for comfort and sensitivity when discussing personal issues. Anita Knisbacher, Marcia DuBrin and Bonnie Sussman had been involved in the Teen Dating program for several years. Recently, Gladys Parker and Nancy Miller joined the program and shared some presentations. The evaluations from these presentations have been positive.

The video chronicles the story of Megan and her boyfriend Matthew. As their romance deepens, Matthew monopolizes Megan’s life, isolates her from her friends and activities, controls her clothing choices, criticizes her intelligence and eventually physically abuses her. At the same time, he repeatedly apologizes and proclaims his love. The guidebook offers many open-ended questions for a discussion after the students view the video.

The messages in this program are:

1. Abuse is never acceptable.

2. Abuse is much more than giving someone a push or a black eye. There is emotional and verbal abuse.

3. Students have choices.

4. It is interesting to note that the Florida Legislature passed a law, effective July 1, 2010, that mandates that teen dating violence and abuse prevention education must be incorporated as part of instruction for students in grades 7-12.

Please contact Bonnie Sussman, sussbon62@gmail.com, 941-309-3444 or Marcia DuBrin, mrdubrin@aol.com, 941-309-3966 if you are interested in this program or if you have any leads where the program can be presented.