The teens at Newburgh Free Academy North say they know that dating violence can affect those around them, and how gender stereotypes and rigid gender roles can have an effect on how dating violence occurs among them.
On Wednesday, students attended a presentation from Safe Homes of Orange County in which they were asked to identify how they thought society portrayed gender roles. One in three teens statistically will be a victim of some sort of dating violence, and many teens knew someone who experienced it or experienced it themselves.
Although students are thinking differently about gender than generations past, organizers say outside forces still shape youth perspectives. They say they think the presentation was important, but more needs to be done for students to feel empowered against dating violence.
"Some people were coming here today with an expectation to learn how to be able to go through these problems," said Newburgh Free Academy student Leslie Mitchell. "But, as you're going through and only learning facts, it's not enough when you go home and you face that problem; when you go in the school and you see these people going through it."
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Safe Homes of Orange County organizes workshops for students and adults around dating violence throughout the year.