A candlelight vigil is being held this evening in honor of victims of teen dating violence.
Laura's House, which provides shelter and services to individuals and families who have suffered abuse, hosts the fourth annual Candlelight Vigil for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Orange County Sheriff's Department Regional Training Center, 15991 Armstrong Ave., Tustin.
- Marissa Presley, bilingual prevention education specialist, who heads up the Laura's House teen dating violence prevention and education program;
- Jill Murray, a nationally recognized expert on dating abuse and author of But He Never Hit Me: The Devastating Cost of Non-Physical Abuse to Girls and Women;
- Survivors of teen dating abuse.
Laura's House will also recognize the Girl Scouts of Orange County "for their efforts to shine a light on dating abuse," and Sharon Spiers, a Health Education teacher and San Juan Hills High School's 2012 Teacher of the Year, will be presented with the Teacher's Together to End Dating Abuse Award.
Among the most moving moments will no doubt be when survivors of teen dating abuse light a communal candle. Art and musical tributes are also in store. Attendees can take a stand against dating abuse by signing pledge cards.
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"Today, one in four high school students are affected by dating abuse," explains Marissa Presley, Bilingual Prevention Education specialist at Laura's House, in the event announcement. "This number is much too high, and sadly many parents, teachers and even friends of the abuse victims don't even know it is happening.
"With the prevention and education programs we offer through Laura's House, as well as our annual candlelight vigil that remembers the victims while celebrating those who have survived teen dating abuse, our goal is to get people talking and thinking about this important issue, and to also develop strategies for reducing dating violence fatalities."
View the Laura's House teen website for more details: www.laurashouse.org/lhteen. The jumping off point for other programs and services is: www.laurashouse.org. You can also call the Counseling and Resource Center at 949.361.3775. However, victims of domestic abuse should call the Laura's House 24-hour hotline for immediate help at 949.498.1511 or toll free at 866.498.1511.