MILWAUKEE, WI — In an unprecedented collaboration with Milwaukee-area high schools, local domestic violence agencies and business organizations, Verizon Wireless is sponsoring a series of upcoming community presentations to teach teens, parents and educators about the signs of abusive dating relationships. The presentations*, to be held May 4 5, 2004, will feature Dr. Jill Murray, a nationally known expert in the field of teen dating violence.
"Statistics tell us that one out of five Milwaukee girls will be physically or sexually abused by a dating partner before she graduates from high school," said Tracy Nolan, region president for Verizon Wireless. "This means that of the 15,500 girls attending public and parochial schools in Milwaukee, 3,100 of them possibly will be victims of dating abuse before graduation. We hope to help reduce that number by helping teens, their parents and educators identify the signs of domestic violence and how to avoid them."
The presentations are part of a multi-faceted public awareness campaign called "Dating Shouldn't Hurt," launched last month in Milwaukee. Already, free posters from Verizon Wireless illustrating verbal statements that often can precede physical or sexual abuse have been displayed in area high schools.
"Now is the time to start talking about controlling abusive relationships with the youth in our community," said Kathie Stolpman, executive director of Sojourner Truth House, a domestic violence shelter. "These are our daughters we are talking about. If they become used to abusive relationships early in life, they likely will be more tolerant of abusive, violent relationships later in life."
According to Carmen Pitre, executive director of the Milwaukee-area Task Force on Family Violence, "Many teens aren't even aware they are in abusive relationships. Often, what we recognize as warning signs are behaviors that some girls find most flattering. An example of this is extreme possessiveness."
Dr. Murray, a California-based author and sought-after guest lecturer, who has appeared on more than 300 talk shows - including Oprah - has spoken about abusive relationships to thousands of students and parents at high schools nationwide. She will conduct five separate presentations in Milwaukee that will address recognizing and preventing abusive behavior, as well as a special assembly for educators and youth workers on helping those in abusive situations.
The citywide coalition coordinating Dr. Murray's visit is made up of The Milwaukee Women's Center, The Task Force on Family Violence, Sojourner Truth House, Girls in Charge, Merry Maids, Dominican High School, St. Joan Antida High School, Pius High School, Divine Savior High School and Aurora Health Care.
Recognizing the pervasiveness of domestic violence and partner abuse in the home and workplace, Verizon Wireless has long been committed to promoting prevention and awareness programs, and helping survivors in the life-rebuilding process. Through its award-winning HopeLineSM program, the company recycles, refurbishes, and/or sells donated phones, and contributes those proceeds to domestic violence advocacy groups. In 2003, the company collected more than 900,000 wireless phones for recycling, and contributed $3.7 million in monetary and other donations to domestic violence shelters and other advocacy organizations nationwide.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 37.5 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log onto www.thenewsmarket.com/verizonwireless.