Students learn about the dangers of dating violence


Students at Sewanhaka High School learned about teen dating violence during a workshop held by The Safe Center Long Island on Feb. 12.

Ashna Balroop, a senior at Sewanhaka High School, was inspired to spread awareness with her classmates about the issue of domestic violence in teen dating as part of a project for student organization Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, also known as FCCLA. She chose to advocate for teen dating violence after reading up on the topic.

“I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends are dating, and it’s a really important topic that needs to be talked about,” Balroop said.

The workshop helped raise awareness about teen dating violence, covering signs of unhealthy and abusive relationships. Students learned about intensity, possessiveness, isolation, sabotage, belittling, guiling and volatility.

“Whether it is verbal or physical, dating violence can encompass anything that makes you feel uncomfortable,” Balroop said.

It also helped students recognize characteristics of safe and healthy relationships. They learned the importance of communication, trust and mutual respect through an activity using orange flags.

During the activity, students were given orange flags to write down what they believed were characteristics of healthy relationships. Then, students and Alyssa Fouad, the educator from The Safe Center, discussed the characteristics to help all participants gain a better understanding of what safe relationships look like.

Fouad told students that they should always be a support system for their peers if they see signs of teen dating violence.

“Creating a safe environment for someone else is extremely important to stop teen dating violence,” Balroop said.

When Balroop surveyed students after the workshop, all of them felt that it was informative.

She reached out to The Safe Center to see how she could support their shelter. She decided to partner with the organization to host a drive at the school collecting: female hygiene products, body wash, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, washcloths, loofahs, sponge puffs, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, toilet paper, paper towels and hand soap. These items help support those who utilize The Safe Center’s resources.

Balroop said the drive was successful, as more than 50 items were collected to help support The Safe Center.