Assembly Member Ricardo Lara Leads State’s Effort to Raise Awareness of Teen Dating Violence

February 06, 2012

ACR 101 declares February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

Sacramento, Calif. – In the shadow of last year’s brutal murder committed by a boyfriend of a high school senior in his district, Assembly Member Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) today introduced ACR 101 to designate the month of February 2012 as “Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.” The resolution would encourage all Californians to observe Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month with programs and activities that raise awareness about the dynamics of teen dating violence and support young people in learning the skills to have safe and healthy relationships.

“The tragic story of Cindi Santana, who was killed by her estranged boyfriend at Southeast High School in my district, shook our community into action. In the wake of this devastating occurrence, I committed to bringing attention to this growing problem that has dire consequences for so many youth in California and throughout the nation.  By shining a light on teen dating violence during the month of February, it is my hope that communities can work together to provide youth the tools they need to help keep them safe,” said Assembly Member Lara.

While we are recognizing the pervasiveness of bullying and its harmful effects on students, warning signs of teen dating violence are often missed, misinterpreted and minimized.  Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner—a figure that far exceeds victimization rates for other types of violence affecting youth, according to Liz Claiborne’s Parent/Teen Dating Violence Poll.

However, many young victims are not equipped with the tools to recognize the warning signs of teen dating violence.  In others, fear and shame often discourage victims from seeking help.

The resolution, sponsored by the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence encourages students, schools, families, and community groups across California to collaboratively address teen dating violence and to empower teenagers with the skills to keep themselves safe.

CONTACT: Julia Juarez, (323) 839-2091