By Jaedda Armstrong
Jan 29, 2010
The Virginian-Pilot – “We’re going to cover a real touchy subject that a lot of people don’t like to take on, but we like to challenge you,” said Deirdre Love as she stared out into the crowd of more than 200 teens on a recent Saturday afternoon. “Dating abuse and violence.”
Sitting in the audience, this topic hit 17-year-old Dakita Perry close to home. A relative had been in an abusive relationship for years. Perry never understood why it took her so long to leave.
Then, Perry joined Love’s organization, Teens With a Purpose, or TWP. It’s a group of Hampton Roads youth who promote healthy thinking, positive actions and self-respect.
“I instantly fell in love with the group,” said Perry, a junior at Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk. “They teach you positive ways to deal with real-life situations.”
During the five-hour forum that day, TWP offered inspirational speeches, games, music and personal stories about dating violence. Perry learned that fear can prevent a person from leaving an abusive relationship.
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