Event aims to open discussion of relationship violence with Md. students

WASHINGTON — Students and parents are being invited to a free event this weekend aimed at addressing a serious and widespread issue: relationship violence.

“One out of three teens experience actual physical violence during the course of their dating relationships,” says State’s Attorney for Montgomery County John McCarthy.

There are 1.5 million teens who experience violence in their dating relationships nationwide, McCarthy says.

On Sunday, students from grades 6-12, parents, teachers and others will discuss the issue and learn about building healthy relationships at the 2016 Choose Respect forum in Rockville, Maryland.

“We want to educate kids that the guy that texts you 500 times a day, demanding where you are every second of the day, doesn’t love you,” McCarthy says.

“That person is trying to control you, to manipulate you, and maybe isolate you, which are very much danger signs in any dating relationship.”

He says he believes the event will be an eye-opener for parents who choose to attend.

“I don’t think that parents are necessarily aware that their sons or daughters are experiencing this,” he says.

In addition to helping students now, McCarthy says he thinks events like this will pay dividends in the future.

“We’re trying to teach young people as they enter their dating relationships what the proper boundaries are, so that in the long run we hope to reduce domestic violence in our county,” he says.

The forum is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 20, at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville. You can register for the event here.

John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, PA, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP sports.

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