March 3, 2015 --
In observance of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and in collaboration with officials at local area high schools, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany personnel traveled outside “the fence line” to bring a message on the importance of healthy relationships to a group of teenagers, recently.
Several transitional students in the Communities in Schools Program at Monroe Comprehensive High School, Albany, Georgia, attended the session, which was facilitated by Brenda Ray, prevention and education specialist, Family Advocacy Program, Marine Corps Community Services, MCLB Albany.
“February, among other things, is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month,” Ray said. “With that initiative, Headquarters (Marine Corps) wanted us to do outreach in the local school systems. So, we reached out to several of our surrounding schools and asked if we could come out and do a presentation on Teen Dating Violence.”
Outlining many of the focus topics she would be discussing, Ray addressed her audience of roughly 20 female students in attendance on some signs to look for in identifying unhealthy relationships.
“We talked about ways to (determine) actually what teen dating violence is,” Ray recapped. “Some of the things that come under that umbrella — whether it be physical, sexual, digital or emotional, (it is) abuse. We talked about power and control; we talked about resources for help and (the distinction between) healthy relationships and unhealthy relationships. We also talked about having a safety plan; a support network and how to help someone who is being victimized or who is in an unhealthy relationship.
“We (discussed) why the victim stays in those kinds of (unhealthy) relationships,” Ray added. “Then, the young ladies began to dialogue and share their thoughts and opinions about the topics.”
Tina White-Alexander, family advocacy clinician, Family Advocacy Program, Marine Corps Community Services, MCLB Albany, who accompanied Ray to the school, discussed her role and the relevance of the session.
“I was there as a support to the program that Ms. Brenda Ray was facilitating and in the event that any of the young ladies presented with emotional or crisis-type behavior,” White-Alexander admitted. “I would immediately be onsite to assist the student and the school personnel in evaluating the triggers or the behaviors. Also, (I was there) to provide some conversational pieces in order to keep the discussion going. Sometimes when you work with young people, they clam up or they get shy.
“During the discussion, the young ladies were very open,” White-Alexander pointed out. “I know that some of them, based on their conversations and responses, have experienced or have witnessed domestic violence or teen dating violence. But, nothing rose to the level that required clinical intervention.”
The teens participated in a verbal quiz entitled, “Are You in a Healthy Relationship?” According to Ray, the quiz initiated open discussions and candid dialogue from several in the group, as one student shared the impact violence has on the entire family — not just the victim.
The team is tentatively scheduled to facilitate a similar workshop at Worth County High School within the next few weeks.
Individuals, who are victims of domestic or dating violence, are urged to call the Domestic Violence 24/7 Helpline — Military OneSource: 800-342-9647 or the Prevention and Counseling Center at MCLB Albany: 229-639-5252.