Students work to prevent violence

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Ten Moffat County High School teens will spend time each day for three weeks talking to their peers about violence.

"I think kids respond a lot better to young people," said Karen Aragon, advisor for the teen group, PReVENT, Preventing Relationship Violence through Educating and Nurturing Teens.

The presentation, designed by group members, addresses physical, emotional and sexual violence, teaching students how to identify each.

It's more difficult than students think, group leader Anna Herring said.

Emotional violence is difficult to define -- particularly for the victim, she said.

Violence can include name calling and threats.

Within two weeks, the group will have made its presentation to each freshman mentoring class at the high school and will have talked to seventh-graders about domestic violence.

The presentations are meant to be interactive. PReVENT members act out or share scenarios, and students are asked to identify violence or patterns that could lead to violence.

In a presentation given only at the high school, students talk about sexual violence and emphasize that "no means no."

There is no such thing as passive consent, Herring told students Monday. And, a person in a mind-altered state is not capable of giving consent.

"Having sex with someone who is drunk is rape," Herring said.

Her statement elicited a lot of discussion, with some students saying that giving consent while drinking is giving consent. That is, if the person drinking is doing so willingly.

"She knew she was getting drunk, and she knew something bad could happen," freshman Courtney Teeter said.

In 2005, 83 sexual assaults were reported to Advocates-Crisis Support services.

"And only 7 percent of people who are sexually assaulted report the assault," Herring said.

PReVENT members spend eight hours in training and then a few days developing their program.

PReVENT is a group of teen workers and advisers that operates under the supervision of the Advocates in Craig. It was started in 1994 as a way for young people to satisfy court-ordered community service requirements.

It grew into an extracurricular volunteer activity when participants took it upon themselves to educate peers about the effects of violence and how to prevent it.

All work done by the group is voluntary.

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