Abusive Teen Relationships

5/26/2008 Fresno, CA -------------------------------------------------
For more information on kNOw More, call 559-445-3234 or go to: www.knowmoreteens.org

"My friends, they say I'm stupid, but they don't know David."

"David" is her abuser, at least in the role that 17-year old Tiffany Diaz is playing as part of a community service program called "kNOw MORE."

"Do you know who you are talking to? I made you. If it weren't for me, you'd still be nobody."

The student group from Clovis High puts on skits for freshmen classes, teaching the younger students how to identify violent relationships and seek help.

"We want to start educating them early at a young age, before this actually happens to them. That way they know right away, I'm in an abusive relationship I need help" said senior Matt Kachadoorian.

Group members tell the audience abusive relationships can happen anywhere and to anyone; whether you're rich or poor, black or white.

"Even I know some people that are in these kinds of relationships and I want to help them, this is my way of reaching out to them," said Tracy Diaz.

School counselor Tracy Fulton said it helps if those reaching out are their own classmates, "It makes a difference when they hear it from their peers. It's one thing when adults tell them, 'This is abuse. Do this, do that. Here are some resources.' But when a student says this is what is going on and they show skits that students can relate to it makes more of an impact."

The skits explain the four kinds of abuse, physical, emotional, verbal and sexual and show examples of the behaviors batterers use to intimidate. It also shows how abusers exert control over their victims.

Kachadoorian became involved with "kNOw MORE" two years ago after hearing from friends about their own abusive relationships. Now, he feels better equipped to help. "We will recommend them to a peer counselor or to an advisor of ours especially if it's a situation where they need help immediately. Abuse in a teen relationship is a horrible thing. It should never occur."

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