Advocacy group: 1 in 3 teen relationships is abusive

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“Here alas is our concern for ensuring that our teens have proper knowledge and information,” – Cynthia Cabot, Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

Guam – Last year, Child Protective Services received 303 reports of sexual abuse. Meanwhile, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 40.9% of youth who participated in a survey were sexually active. And for high school students, research reveals that 1 in 10 youth have been intentionally hit, slapped, or hurt by a dating partner. But perhaps even more harrowing: 1 in 3 dating adolescents is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse.

In light of these heartbreaking statistics, the Guam Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Family Violence’s upcoming youth leadership could not be more timely.

“Actually those [statistics] are based on national statistics,” explained Cynthia Cabot, the Executive Director of the Guam Coalition. “We aligned ourselves with several national organizations and one is the LoveIsRespect.org, and they are the ones who came up with the 1 in 3 statistics…So, here alas is our concern for ensuring that our teens have proper knowledge and information,” Cabot said.

The upcoming event is Project STAR Youth Leadership Summit, which stands for Strengthening Teens Awareness and Resources and will be held this Thursday at the Westin Guam Resort.

“I guess our purpose here is to provide training and engage youth to become peer leaders as well and raising information and being ambassadors in the various schools and promoting healthy relationships. And it’s not about promoting sex or promoting that they abstain or are engaging in safe sexual activity. But because of the age, we’re certainly looking at how we can be helping them identify or help intervene others also in the schools,” Cabot said.

So far, about 85 students from various public and private schools have already signed up for the summit. They’ll be treated to two featured speakers David Lee and Ashleigh Klein-Jimenez from the California Coalition Against Sexaul Assault.

“What better way to be able to work with these students as well and engaging them with safe bystander intervention? For example, [bystander intervention] recognizes those signs and being an active part in ensuring that one is safe,” she added.

According to Guam Coalition’s Project Assistant Maya Wiglesworth, there’s still some availability left for the youth leadership summit this Thursday. For more information, you can contact the GCAS office at 479-2277.