February is teens vs dating violence

Posted on Feb 05 2020

Students of Saipan Southern High School gather around Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios at the proclamation of Teen Dating Awareness Month last Feb. 4 at Saipan Southern High School in Koblerville. (Justine Nauta)

Safe dating among teens is the focus of this month’s observation of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, as a way to bring teens and those who support them together in a national effort to raise awareness about teen dating violence.

Over 100 students of Saipan Southern High School witnessed Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios sign the proclamation that seeks to fight teen dating violence last Feb. 4 at SSHS in Koblerville.

Along with the observance of February as Parent Leadership Month under the auspices of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs’ Division of Youth Services, the month will also focus on teen dating under the auspices of the Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

In her opening remarks, Saipan Southern High School Student Council president Kristine Deleon Guerrero said, “Teen dating violence is a huge issue and under-reported among our peers.”

SSHS Fernandez Jeremiah Fernandez and Elaine also did a performance of the poem, Lost, which highlights the loss of innocence among teens who go through teen dating violence. It is the poem that won the Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence’s poetry slam in 2017.

“Gov. [Ralph DLG] Torres and I encourage all citizens to raise awareness about abuse in teen relationships and promote programs that prevent it. Throughout February, organizations and individuals nationwide are urged to come together to bring attention to the significant need to continue to educate young people about dating violence and to empower them to make healthy choices in relationships in order to break the devastating cycle of abuse,” said Palacios.

Part of activities that the Northern Marianas Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence has lined up this month is its annual Teen Poetry Slam 2020 on Feb. 28 at 6pm at the Hyatt Regency Saipan that is open to the public.

The proclamation was signed for the first time by Gov. Ralph Torres in 2018. This year will mark its third observance in the CNMI.

Justine Nauta
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