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May 14, 2008 > "DateSafe"- Advise Leadership Fremont and SAVE

"DateSafe"- Advise Leadership Fremont and SAVE

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By courtesy of SAVE

"Teasing" and ¬Name calling" are the first signs of an abusive relationship, that are often ignored as normal behavior, warns DateSafe DVD. The DVD is a team effort of SAVE (Safe Alternative to Violent Environments) and Leadership Fremont Group, a group of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. "The primary purpose of the DVD is to prevent teen dating violence and to provide resources to teens that may already be in a violent relationship," said Rodney Clark, Executive Director of Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments (SAVE). The DVD cites red flag signs of an abusive relationship, to help teens recognise the danger at an early stage. For instance, the person is possessive, tries to control you, criticises how you dress or has quick temper and violent tendencies. Teen members Kevin Jackson, Kevin Benavente, Laura Banuelos from Fremont-based teen-advocacy group called Stand Powerfully and Reach Kids Successfully (SPARKS), offer first-person testimonials in the DVD. The DVD provides voice to the teens out there who know they are facing abuse but don't know how to get away as they are afraid of the consequences. The objective of the DVD is to help build healthy relationships in the classrooms.
If you or someone you know are facing violent or abusive situation, don't feel shy. Rodney tells the victims that they are not alone. "I would say to teens in an abusive relationship that it is not their fault. Batterers tell their victims that the violence is their fault because of something the victim has done (e.g. dressed provocatively) or have not done (e.g. not responding to numerous text messages)," said Clark. "43% of teens report that they or someone they know are in a physically or emotionally violent relationship."
According to DateSafe, 1 in 4 adolescent reports verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse each year. 1 in 11 high school students reports being physically hurt by someone they were dating. This 15 minute educational video asks the teens to speak out if they experience physical, verbal or emotional abuse.

The DVD was a service project, that each leadership class does as part of the 9 month long training program. "We had to come up with a project, choose a nonprofit to partner with, raise the money to do it, execute the plan, and market the idea within Southern Alameda County," said Angus Cochran, Project Leader and Director, Development Washington Hospital Healthcare System. This project grew out of a conversation with Rodney Clark, who was interested in a video for teens that addressed the subject of dating violence. SAVE also has a teen dating violence curriculum that it uses in local high-schools. So it wanted a video that could both be used in conjunction with that curriculum, and also stand alone as a teaching tool. "SAVE aims to gain access to classroom presentations in the schools to further explore with students and faculty the issue of Teen Dating Violence," said Clark. "Val Williams, Director of Pupil Services for the Fremont Unified School District, has taken a copy of the DVD back to her staff and will get the DVD uploaded to the school district website." The group raised close to $9,000 from a variety of local businesses, associations, and Fremont Sunrise Rotary. They hired a videographer, and in collaboration with SAVE focussed on teen interviews and re-enactments of abusive situations. The group then launched the project with DVD premiere on Wednesday, April 23 and presented SAVE with 1,000 copies.
"It was a rewarding experience, working with professionals from the hotel industry and varied nonprofit organizations, " said Lance Tomasu, Assistant Manager (NUMMI). The DVD serves the youth of our community and provides resources for a social problem that gets far too little attention. "We were really fortunate that Rodney Clark of SAVE became a true partner in the project and helped us craft a video that will grab - and keep - teens' attention," said Cochran.

"The school staff (teachers, counselors, and administrators) that attended the event [DateSafe DVD Premiere Event], were very impressed and commented that they thought the video would definitely reach teens and get them thinking and talking about the issue," said Clark. "If even one teenager out there in an abusive relationship sees DateSafe and gets help to end the abuse, then all our hard work will have been worth it," said Cochran.

The DVD is available through SAVE by e-mailing
Or Contact SAVE Community Office to arrange a presentation in your school:
39155 Liberty Street Suite C310
Fremont, CA, 94538


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