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Huntsville program working to prevent domestic violence among teenagers

Najahe Sherman talks with local teenagers going through a program called "Date Smart" about what that program is doing to negate domestic violence.

Posted: Jul 8, 2019 6:45 PM
Updated: Jul 15, 2019 9:22 PM

Speech to Text for Huntsville program working to prevent domestic violence among teenagers

Below is the closed-captioning text associated with this video. Since this uses automated speech to text spelling and grammar may not be accurate.

tonight... an alarming look at domestic violence from the perspective of our youth. recent studies show that girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, almost triple the national average. but now, there is a new program in huntsville working to change that. i spoke with local teenagers going through a program called date smart. they shared some eye- opening insight with me. kennedie jones is 14 years old. she is about to start the 9th grade in huntsville. when i asked her if she had a boyfriend... she told me no, she wasn't in any rush.. and too many of her friends are in relationships that don't seem good. kennedie jones/ 14 years old: 04:10:56:26 yes, like hitting each other in the face. the boy slamming the girlfriend and it causes issues in their relationship and they break up. they eventually go back to each other and that's not healthy. the incident jones told me she witnessed, is more common among our youth than you might think. according the groups domestic violence services, inc. and love and respect dot org some domestic violence studies show that 40 percent of teenagers ages 14 to 17 years old report knowing someone their age who has been hit, beaten or abused by a boyfriend. about one in five female teenagers report physical dating violence by a dating partner. nearly 14 percent of teens, both male and female, have reported that their boyfriend or girlfriend threatened to harm them or themselves to avoid a relationship breakup. the violent behavior often begins between the ages of 12 and 18. that's why the Boys and Girls Club of North Alamba launched the date smart intervention program in our area. laura calvert: 04:36:40:10 we're targeting minority youth ages 13-24 in madison county. we've been looking for different partners and boys and girls club was excited to bring this to other teen centers. we're working with a few teen centers in the area. youth outreach coordinator at thrive alabama laura calvert just finished leading a group of teenagers through the first of three classes in the date smart program. laura calvert/date smart 04:20:50:00 usually the first session is a little bit quieter. so we try not to start out with the heavy stuff first. by the end of it, all of the groups are really open and you can tell that they've really picked up on what we taught them because they've started incorporating them with the other lessons. class leaders talk to the students about communication with their friends in person and through social media, including text messaging, direct messages and instant messaging. the also learn how to set boundaries laura calvert/date smart 04:22:37:02 we kind of use demonstrations that we see in the media that are healthy relationships. i let them pick, people they've seen in media and their relationships and how they described them. what's healthy and unhealthy and what they see about those relationships and we talk about them. after the first class was over we asked the teenagers what they learned? they had this to say... kennedie jones: 04:09:36:22 i feel like you have to respect yourself first before you respect somebody else, but you've got to have respect for that person as far as what you do, what you all talk about...respect overall. joshaua staten: "for one, i don't call them out of their name...i wouldn't talk to them, how i wouldn't talk to my mama." group leaders told me they offer this advice to parents. 04:40:38:12 talk to your kids. it seems like it's hard but you'll be surprised what they're exposed to and what they know about ...they form opinions on their own. being able to talk to them and letting them express themselves in a safe environment. nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. there are some important questions you should ask your teenagers. i've put that information for you on our website. go to and click on this
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