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Empowering teen bystanders

From CNN.com

In America, fear is king.

Instant media highlight our worst fears every second with stories of violence and crime. Some fear is more subtle and pervasive: don’t speak up if you see something because you don’t want get into someone else’s ‘business.’

When a teen is killed by a partner, often communities are shocked. They didn’t realize what was going on underneath the surface. Society tries to absolve itself from action by casting the perpetrator as a ‘monster’ or mentally ill. But there is something communities can do besides being afraid. They can stand up when they see symptoms of abuse. Empowered bystanders can help diffuse a situation.

SOS serves teens facing dating violence or sexual assault through Crisis Services. Teens or friends of teens can call our 24 hr hotline 620-342-1870 or 800-825-1295.  Beyond crisis services, SOS provides prevention education in area schools about healthy relationships, dating violence and respect.

People, especially teens, think there’s only one way to respond to a tense situation, either by sticking their necks out or doing nothing at all. There are a lot of options in between,” said Safe Schools Coordinator Lori Hodin, who helped start the program at Lincoln-Sudbury.

Male and female student athletes participated in daylong training sessions using the “MVP playbook,” which employs sports terms to discuss scenarios from the minefield of adolescence. Hodin and four faculty facilitators led discussions on ways bystanders could respond, and how to recognize themselves as potential perpetrators.

Click the slideshow to see what steps the student athletes recommend for real scenarios.

Read on at CNN.com

submitted by Elizabeth Kennedy