With Teen Dating Violence Month coming up in February, Ariel Thurber’s class at George H.W. Bush New Tech Odessa is creating public service announcements for the Crisis Center of West Texas.
Lydia Garcia, director of community services at the Crisis Center, said this is the third year a contest is being held for the best videos. She said the agency usually receives between 15 and 20 entries from New Tech.
Community leaders are invited to watch the videos and pick the best ones. An assembly is then arranged to show the videos at New Tech. This year it is tentatively set for 2:30 p.m. Feb. 28 in the school’s cafeteria.
Teen dating violence is the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and might occur between a current or former dating partner, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website said.
Thurber, who teaches digital media and yearbook and journalism, said the students also are making educational videos about human growth and development to help prompt conversations between youngsters and parents about sex, abstinence and birth control, Thurber said.
In addition to requiring equal numbers of sports teams for men and women, Title IX offices also investigate outcries of sexual assault and harassment.
“None of my kids knew about Title IX and what it protects them from and what it’s for. I told them there’s probably a bunch of other teenagers who have no idea what Title IX is either. So you can teach them and you can educate them. Just make it fun and make it interesting so they’d want to watch, so if they ever have an issue with this then they know that they’re protected,” Thurber said.
Sophomores Caeden Gamboa, 16, Daniel Levario, 15, Adamary Dominguez, 15, and Sahamira Toro, 16, are working on a teen dating violence video.
“Going into this I already knew that we were going to have to do a teen dating violence video and I was really excited to do something like that because it’s more dramatic. It’s something that’s about the real world and something that affects everyone in high school. I was already coming up with ideas, and as someone that likes to film, I was really intrigued and excited about the different ways of going around it and expressing it,” Gamboa said.
What surprised him was how many teenagers have experienced dating violence in some way and not said anything. Gamboa said he would think someone would have said something.
He said he and the Crisis Center talked to them and he talked to his mother, who volunteered there for a long time. Gamboa added that he talked to friends, as well, who told him about their experience with teen dating violence and how it impacted them.
“We’re going to incorporate those things into the video and hopefully share it and get the word out there,” Gamboa said.
Daniel Levario, a 15-year-old sophomore, said he thinks the video will be informative for teenagers. He added that he doesn’t know anyone affected by teen dating violence, but it’s always good to raise awareness.
He said the video will cover signs of teen dating violence such as arguing or physical abuse.
“I think it’s very important because this always leads to worse things than what it’s already at,” Levario said.
The CDC website said many teens do not report dating violence because they are afraid to tell friends and family. A 2017 CDC Report found that about 7 percent of women and 4 percent of men who ever experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced some form of partner violence by that partner before age 18, the site said.
“The 2013 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey found approximately 10 percent of high school students reported physical victimization and 10 percent reported sexual victimization from a dating partner in the 12 months before they were surveyed,” the site said.
Garcia said sometimes young people don’t know who to turn to, but the Crisis Center can connect them with community resources. She recommends the loveisrespect.org website.