Teenage dating violence and prevention was the topic Monday afternoon at the State Capitol. It’s an often uncomfortable topic that some say needs more attention in order to find a solution.
At the rally, the message was that domestic violence domestic violence isn’t just an adult problem. In fact, teenagers also encounter abusive relationships.
At Monday’s rally, participants say knowledge is power.
Orange bandannas stood out at the Capitol, donned by supporters, coming to tell their stories.
They say the orange cloth is a symbol of unity, and a firm stance against teenage dating violence.
Emily Tackett is a 17-year-old at Enochs High school. For her, witnessing abuse in relationships is common even at a young age.
“Seeing it in the hallways, seeing even the smallest form of relationship abuse amongst teenagers at my school, it’s getting to be a pretty big deal,” Tackett said.
These students have made it their mission to shatter the silence, giving victims a voice.
Meranda Garcia, 17, says domestic violence is a topic she wants people to become more comfortable talking about.
“I think this does help give them a voice because for along time everyone said keep your relationship to yourself, don’t ask questions, it’s nobody’s business, and now we’re trying to make it your business,” said Garcia.
In fact, they want to give others permission to stand up, no matter your background, age, or sex.
“Most people think that it’s just females who are the abusers but it’s actually males as well,” said Gio Romero, 17.
For Romero, watching his friends experience toxic relationships has given him the courage to make a difference.
” I actually know some friends who were in relationships like that, it’s very sad,” said Romero.
The rally had political clout as well.
Jimmy Gomez, an Assembly member from Los Angeles says getting a conversation going makes a big difference.
“In the past you can never talk about it, and actually breaking that taboo of not taking about it will move the ball forward when it comes to prevention,” said Gomez.
Kathy Moore is the Executive Director for the California Partnership to end domestic violence. She says the support from the teens is incredible.
“They understand that it’s not just about a black eye or a brown arm, they’re really understand that this is about their relationship,” said Moore.
Teens like Emily, Meranda, and Gio truly believe knowledge is power. They hope their desire to change society is contagious.