Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Utah Teens Get Creative to Prevent Dating Violence

(Murray, UT) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) recognized several Utah teens for their efforts to bring attention to dating violence during a “Healthy Relationships” rock concert at Murray High School Tuesday evening. The students participated in a multimedia art contest as part of Utah’s 2012 Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month, which is observed across the country each February.
AshLee Bambrough urged concertgoers to take dating violence seriously and to get help if they or someone they know is in an abusive relationship. Bambrough was nearly killed six months ago after her boyfriend pushed her out of a vehicle traveling at 65 miles per hour.
Data from the UDOH 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a national survey conducted every two years in public high schools throughout Utah, show that nearly 12% of high school students, or one in eight, said they were hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend. While many people think of dating violence as physical abuse, it also includes verbal and emotional abuse.
Kolten Cooke, a student from Murray High School, won the YouTube video category for his entry. “We made this video in order to spread awareness of teen dating abuse in what we hoped wasn’t a cheesy way. We wanted to stick with the facts and leave a memorable impression.”
The contest invited 7th–12th grade students from across Utah to create a visual art project, YouTube video, or written work that educates teens about dating violence. Grand prize winners were:
   Molina Phear, Hunter High, West Valley City, Visual Arts Category
   Kolton Cooke, Murray High School, Murray, YouTube Video Category
   Emir Sabic, Valley Junior High School, Salt Lake City, Written Works Category

Honorable mentions were also given to Sierra Moosman, a student at Alta High School in Sandy, and Whitney Staples, a student at Cedar City High School in Cedar City, for their written works entries. Each winner received two suite tickets to a Utah Grizzlies game, a plaque, and a visual arts, film production, or writing class valued at $190-$300 from the Visual Arts Institute, Spy Hop Productions, and Higher Ground Learning Center.
“Our hope in doing this contest each year is to get teens and parents talking about dating violence and how to build healthy and respectful relationships,” said Katie McMinn, UDOH Violence and Injury Prevention Program.

Help is available for victims of dating violence by calling the toll-free, 24-hour Rape and Sexual Assault Crisis and Information Hotline at 1-888-421-1100 or the Utah Domestic Violence Link Line at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).  For resources on dating violence, visit http://health.utah.gov/vipp/datingviolence/overview.htm or join the Utah Teen Dating Scene Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/UtahTeenDatingScene.
Media Contact:
Katie McMinn
Violence and Injury Prevention Program
(o) 801-538-9277 (m) 801-856-6697