Commentary

Love and Peace: Let's Help Teens Put Them Together

Thursday, October 22, 2009

An $18 million "Start Strong" initiative to prevent teen dating violence kicks off today--during Domestic Violence Awareness Month--with activities to help teens confront the issue. Please join this life-saving push.

Editor's Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's eNews.

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Start Strong Bridgeport "Take It to the Streets" rally(WOMENSENEWS)--Today, Oct. 22, marks the start of a major national initiative to define a healthy intimate-partner relationship.

The goal: protecting U.S. teens from the growing menace of intimate-partner violence.

"Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships," with $18 million in funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Blue Shield of California Foundation, is targeting 11 cities.

It is the largest initiative ever funded to target 11-to-14-year-olds and to rally entire communities to promote healthy relationships and protect their teens.

Today Start Strong teens nationwide are orchestrating local events to take this issue onto the streets where they live during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The goal is to transform the conversation about dating to focus on developing healthy relationships before violence and abuse begins.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., is funding 10 Start Strong sites--Emory University's Jane Fonda Center in Atlanta; Safe Place in Austin, Texas; Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence in Boise; Boston Public Health Commission; RYASAP in Bridgeport, Conn.; Clarian Health in Indianapolis; Family Violence Law Center in Oakland, Calif.; Sojourner House in Providence, R.I.; Bronx-Lebanon Hospital in the Bronx, N.Y.; and Catholic Charities, Inc. in Wichita, Kan.

Blue Shield of California Foundation, based in San Francisco, is funding Peace Over Violence in Los Angeles.

Each group's initiative will unite the words "start strong" with the city name, such as Start Strong Bridgeport.

Take Action

Your support is crucial. Here's how you can join the push:

  1. Help us spread the word by forwarding this article to your friends and family.
  2. Go to www.startstrongteens.org and give your relationship feedback.
  3. Post a healthy relationships conversation starter to your Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/yfxr7yl) or Twitter profile with a link. This will have a major impact.

Intimate partner violence is a silent epidemic with significant social, health and financial costs.

Copyright 2009 Women's eNews. The information contained in this Women's eNews report may--with the prior written authorization of Women's eNews--be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.

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