One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a
victim of physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence. Applying national rates of dating violence to Marin, there could be as many as 13,000 youth/young adults experiencing some form of dating violence in Marin. To that end, Center for Domestic Peace’s (C4DP) youth advocacy division, Marin Against Youth Abuse (MAYA), created a county-wide media campaign this past spring toward ending dating abuse. Funded by a federal grant, the money supports the work of C4DP’s youth prevention program to engage the community in ending dating violence through creation and production of print and video resources. (C4DP is one of three in the state to receive these funds.)
The MAYA committee, made up of 18 youth from around the county, worked through the spring semester to create the materials, refine the messaging, and participate in the photoshoots for these materials.
Katerina Kakkis, 17, said the group started brainstorming late last year on ways to effectively
reach teens across the county. “We thought of ads because they’re big, teens drive everywhere and take the bus, and it’s an easy way to see them,” the San Rafael resident said. “We thought about maybe pins to pass out, or opening a booth at a farmers market. One of my favorite ideas was ads at movie theaters. We thought it was a really easy, quick way to reach a big audience, especially with young people.”
The anti-dating-violence campaign included :15 and :30 second ads that ran in 5 movie theaters, as well as print ads in newspapers and on the sides of city busses.
“Because we live in a privileged county, there’s an assumption
this doesn’t happen to our youth or teens – but it does,” said
Laurel Freeman, prevention supervisor at Center for Domestic Peace. “We see this happening across all socioeconomic and racial backgrounds.”
The MAYA committee members, acting as peer resources for healthy relationships and relationship abuse, learn about identifying unhealthy dating signs through counselor training and participate in awareness activities around the county over the course of the school year.
If you see warning signs in your teen’s relationship, please contact Marin Against Youth
Abuse for advice and referrals. Also, if you know a young person interested in joining the
MAYA committee and becoming an activist for social change, contact us at 415-526-2557 or centerfordomesticpeace.org/teens.