Nonprofit gives Fountain Valley High students a lesson about teen dating violence

Fountain Valley High School students learned about the effects of teen dating violence and how to break the cycle of toxic relationships through "Love Shouldn't Hurt," a presentation this week created by Irvine-based nonprofit Human Options.

The after-school presentation Wednesday, hosted by the relatively new student-run Domestic Violence Prevention Awareness Club, invited Human Options to address club members and other students.

The nonprofit offers services to domestic-violence victims and lectures to students and parents throughout Orange County.

Roxanne Vidrio, community educator at Human Options, presented data and charts illustrating the cycle from honeymoon to physical violence and listed various forms of abuse such as physical, verbal, financial and psychological.

Students appeared most engaged when presented with real-life examples intended to show how domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or social standing.

A slide featured singer Rihanna, who faced international media attention in 2009 after reports that her then-boyfriend, singer Chris Brown, had physically assaulted her. Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault.

Another image displayed Evan Peters, an actor known for his work in the TV series "American Horror Story," who news reports said was injured during an altercation with his girlfriend, actress Emma Roberts, in 2013. Roberts was arrested but later released.

Vidrio told about 20 students attending the lecture that data indicate one-third of them will experience some type of physical violence in a relationship.

She added that a majority of high school students who experience dating violence will experience nonphysical types of abuse as well.

To break the cycle, Vidrio said students can create a safety plan:

• Talk to a person you trust.

• Reduce time with the abuser.

• Build a strong support system.

Above all, she said, it is important to stay safe throughout the process.

Fiona Lichodziejiewski, a junior and a founding member of the , Domestic Violence Prevention Awareness Club, helped plan the presentation as part of her work toward earning the Girl Scouts Gold Award.

She learned about Human Options through a stocking-stuffing service project she worked on and felt the Love Shouldn't Hurt presentation would be a good activity for Domestic Violence Awareness Month in February.

Lichodziejiewski is no stranger to data on teen dating violence, but she said she learned from the lecture.

"For one thing, I didn't know there are so many types of abuse, like technological and financial abuse," she said.

Salma Nasoordeen, another student who attended the lecture, said she's now able to apply the information to real-life situations.

"I've noticed some friends share their social media passwords with their boyfriends, and I don't think they should do that," Nasoordeen said. "It's their privacy, and it shouldn't be shared."

Human Options has given presentations throughout California this month to schools such as Western State School of Law, Savanna High School, Back Bay High School, Portola High School, Cal State Fullerton and Irvine High School.

CONFERENCE ON SATURDAY

Parents and students can attend a Love Shouldn't Hurt conference from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Estancia High School, 2323 Placentia Ave., Costa Mesa.

The free conference will offer workshops for parents and teens to learn more about teen dating violence. Complimentary breakfast and lunch will be served, and activities will be offered for children.

For more information, visit humanoptions.org or call (949) 764-8100.

To read the article in Spanish, click here

priscella.vega@latimes.com

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