February is best known for Valentine’s Day, but February is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be in a violent relationship in their lifetime. Young women ages 16-24 are at a 3X greater risk for abuse.
In recognition of these shocking statistics, The League of Women Voters Mountain Lakes is teaming up with the One Love Foundation to educate the community about the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors. The program will be held Tuesday, February 28th, 7PM at Hapgoods Restaurant, 44 Midvale Rd, Mountain Lakes. Parents, youth leaders, educators, health care workers, counselors and clergy are invited to attend this special event to learn how they can play a role in guiding teens to safe, respectful and caring relationships.
Presenters will include Betty Maccagnan, the wife of Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan and Katherine Hood, CEO of the One Love Foundation. Seven years ago, Yeardley Love, a promising young student at University of Virginia, was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend just weeks before their graduation. Her friends and family were shocked to learn the statistics about relationship violence and how at risk Yeardley really was. The goal of the Foundation is to inspire this generation to be the leaders of a movement to change the statistics around relationship violence.
The program will include a short 38-minute film called “Escalation,” which depicts a fictional college-campus relationship that deteriorates because of the boyfriend’s verbal and physical abuse. Although young adults age 16-24 are at greatest risk, they often don’t think relationship violence happens to them. Teens and adults must first know the signs before we can work for a new societal status quo and ultimately change these statistics.
One Love — which is based in Westchester County — has used “Escalation” in workshops reaching more than 70,000 students across the country in just over a year and a half. “Our hope is to bring these meaningful workshops to students in our community,” shares Mary Alosio-Joelsson, President of the League of Women Voters, Mountain Lakes. “This film unlike any other existing educational resource, depicting relationship abuse in a highly-relatable and authentic way, so much so that the young people who view it are often left feeling that they have witnessed relationship abuse before. Young people recognize the behaviors in the film and identify with the characters. We understand that after finishing the workshop, nearly all who participate want to immediately share their new knowledge and practical understanding of this issue with their friends.”
The event begins with a reception at 7:00PM, followed by a program and the film at 7:30 PM.