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Teens Prove Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Area students raise teen dating violence awareness

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Stamford, CT | Added on February 28, 2014 At 10:39 AM

Proving the power of words.  

"We need a chorus of voices to make change happen," said Arianne Spaulding, a Stamford High School student and member of the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council.  

Greenwich, Stamford and Norwalk teens raising their voices about teen dating violence.  

"Three weeks ago, two of our members talked to our advisor about a friend, whose boyfriend threatened to kill himself, if she refused to go back out with him," said Spaulding.  

Holding signs with thoughts and demands for "youth activism now."  Members from the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council in Stamford, the YNet program in Greenwich and the Center for Youth Leadership in Norwalk spread their message Thursday.  

"We are here today to honor these girls and hundreds, yes hundreds, of other teens in Connecticut who have experienced the shame and emotional and social devastation of dating violence," said Spaulding.  

Community leaders and officials showed their support.  

"With your voices speaking loud and clear, there will be progress made," said Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling.

"I am very proud because the message you're carrying are not just about teen dating violence.  They are about what you have to learn about the world as you march forward to bring more justice and equity in the world," said Stamford Mayor David Martin.

"And I say enough.  If you're in an abusive relationship, you need to know that you have the right to refuse, you have the right to be respected and you have the right to be safe," said Detective Sergeant Brent Reeves, Greenwich Police Department.  

With National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month ending, the groups say their actions don't stop here.

"February is teen dating violence prevention month, so you'll probably help someone our age.  It's the other 11 months we're concerned about," said Melanie Patino, a Brien McMahon High School student and Center for Youth Leadership member.  

Their work includes testifying in Hartford.  

"We met several times with the legislative task force on domestic violence, testified several times at hearings at the legislative office building and succeeded in getting teens access to restraining orders against their abusive teen partners," said Patino.  

All with the hope of making a change.  

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