As many as one in three teens will experience dating violence, and more than half of them will never report it, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
To spotlight this growing problem, more than 600 students, parents, educators and community leaders from Montgomery County, Md., located just outside the nation’s capital, recently came together to talk through what can be a very tough issue during the annual Choose Respect conference.
The free event, held on the Takoma Park campus of Montgomery College, included role-play workshops for middle-schoolers on the dynamics of healthy relationships and sessions for parents to help them learn how to initiate a dialogue with their teenage child about difficult to discuss issues like dating violence.
The day-long program culminated with the presentation of awards in the video public service announcement (PSA) contest, sponsored by HopeLine from Verizon to help raise awareness about dating violence. HopeLine from Verizon connects survivors of domestic violence to vital resources, funds organizations nationwide and recycles unusable phones to help protect the environment.
Verizon Wireless presented checks from HopeLine for $1,000, $750 and $500 to the first, second, and third-place winners, respectively, whose productions were selected by an independent panel of judges from more than 55 entries from 158 students representing 10 middle and high schools. The winning entries, which will air on Comcast over the coming months, include:
- 1st Place: Watkins Mill High School for the video entitled Control
- 2nd Pace: Sherwood High School for the video entitled Draw My Life: A Story of Abuse
- 3rd Place: Bethesda Chevy Chase High School for the video entitled Hall Pass
This year marks the fifth consecutive year for the Choose Respect conference, which is helping to bring teens together to learn about the impact of unhealthy relationships and work together to help eliminate teen dating violence.