February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, and a big part of doing awareness around dating and domestic violence is to first acknowledge that it exists, and it does. The second step is to talk about it. Several student-athletes at John Marshall High School are doing just that. Accepting their role as leaders on and off their respective courts and fields, the students participated in dating violence prevention videos.
What’s so powerful about young people doing prevention is that their age group, ages 16-24, experiences the highest rate of dating violence, almost three times the national average. When the very people that dating violence is affecting are actively doing awareness against it, that’s a monumental move. When you take an age group who often can’t recognize the warning signs of abuse, or who don’t know how to get help, and empower them with information and options, that turns potential victims into powerful voices. The student-athletes at John Marshall High School who participated in the prevention videos are setting a new standard at their school, making a new norm, and changing and creating a new culture on their campus.
In the videos, as seen above and below, they divulge that dating violence is “out of bounds,” and that you should “take time out to say ‘no more.'” They encourage everyone to not “be a bystander,” and that if you “hear something, see something, say something.” Along with these videos, three student-designed billboards are also up in Marshall County asking us to “end the silence on dating violence.” Around 30 athletes participated in this project, and about 30 more will be joining them, as we will have prevention games with the John Marshall High School girl’s basketball team on February 11th, and the boys on February 25th.