Why is Awareness Important? – Tony’s Story

One third of the women and a quarter of the men in your life have probably experienced some form of domestic violence, and you most likely don’t know about it.

As a high school student, I find it difficult to acknowledge the high rates of abuse towards teens. Seeing a constant rate at which people of my age experience domestic violence – primarily in the home – often creates a feeling of helplessness, but most importantly, an eagerness to intervene. It is important to talk about this abuse, as it can help teens such as myself realize that we are not alone in our struggle and that if we come together, we can make a huge difference.

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Stories from VOICES – LifeWire’s Youth Support Group

This post was written by Krystle Andres, LifeWire’s Youth Advocate. Accompanying images were taken by Krystle of the teens who attend VOICES. 

It’s the Monday night before Valentine’s Day, and all of us are gathered around in our usual spots on the couches in our meeting room. We’ve all been coming to this room every Monday night for the past year for LifeWire’s weekly youth support group – VOICES.

We come here to be in community with one another while also silently acknowledging that domestic violence is at the core of why we are here. Each week I remind them that the purpose of our group is not just community, but a place to process what is happening in their lives. Despite this transparency in purpose, I never push them to share anything they don’t want to.

However, tonight is different.

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Jasmine’s Story

My friends keep pepper spray in their backpack and their stance upright and confident when walking home at night. We text to confirm when we’ve reached our destination safely, and we never go running with both earbuds in. These self-defense tips, amassed from Internet forums and women’s magazines alike, become our weapons lest we be attacked by strangers lurking in street shadows.

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Sarah’s Story

Last week I was in the car with my younger sister blaring pop hits on the radio. Music flowing out of the windows, smiles on our faces. “You’re too sexy, beautiful, and everyone wants a taste. That’s why I still get jealous,” my sister belted out, “I have a right to be hellish.” Every time I changed the station there was a happy upbeat song with lyrics that horrified me – and my sister knew every single word.

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