By Sara Skavroneck, loveisrespect.org National Youth Advisory Board
I am a senior at Vanderbilt and the President of the University Branch of Promote SADA- Students Against Dating/Domestic Abuse and a member of the loveisrespect.org National Youth Advisory Board. We have co-authored a bill that would require teen dating violence prevention education in North Carolina high schools, and have presented our proposed bill directly to North Carolina Congress Members, including Representative Craig Horn and Senator Jim Davis. To lobby the support of the NC Congress, I have been working with law enforcement and school officials to gain statewide support for the bill. In order to raise awareness for teen dating violence prevention, I have received the support of several local principals to put on Teen Dating Violence Prevention presentations throughout February — National Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month — for students using educational materials from Break the Cycle. I am also directly lobbying NC Congress members on the Education committee, and recruiting mass support for Teen Dating Violence Prevention education via this online petition: (http://www.change.org/petitions/put-teen-dating-violence-prevention-education-in-nc-high-schools)
Dating abuse prevention has always been a passion of mine. I’ve volunteered and fundraised on a local level for the Battered Women’s Shelter of Charlotte, NC, but am excited and driven to impact dating/domestic abuse on a legislative level. Next year, I will be attending UNC Medical School, which will allow me to work side by side with legislators in the state capital. I will be starting a branch of Promote SADA at UNC Medical School, enabling medical students and doctors to effect change by raising awareness of the medical implications of teen dating violence. This prestigious recognition would enable me to more effectively raise Teen Dating Violence Prevention awareness in schools state-wide, and lobby NC Congress, law enforcement, and school officials to pass a TDVP bill by 2013!!
Of course, I’m aware that states cannot accomplish this work alone. We need the enhanced provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (S.1925) that continue grants for middle schools and high schools to build a comprehensive strategy to end dating violence and broaden programs that increase the focus on effective prevention education. I urge Congress to pass the VAWA Reauthorization now!
Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.