Teen summit on ending dating violence in Wisconsin held virtually

Two in three teenagers who were in an abusive relationship never told anyone about it, according to organizers
Published: Feb. 28, 2021 at 8:08 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - There’s a fear among top state officials that the coronavirus pandemic is sparking a rise in teen domestic violence cases.

That was the focus of a three-day teen domestic violence summit that began on Sunday. Normally, the annual event hosted by End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin would be held in Wisconsin Dells, but this year it moved virtual.

“I always tell people when we go to these events, when we go to workshops, or if we are uncomfortable, how we need to be courageously uncomfortable,” Kwnwahta Smith of Oneida said.

Teenagers from across the state shared their experiences.

“It’s important to have people who can speak out and let people know - this is where attention needs to be put at and focused on,” Ajani Carr, who has lived in Chicago and Madison, said.

The summit’s goal is to give teens, often referred to as Gen Zer’s, the tools to recognize domestic abuse and to walk away from those type of relationships.

According to organizers, one in five Wisconsin youths experience dating violence and one in four say they’ve sent, received, or shared nude photos. Moreover, two in three teens who were in an abusive relationship never told anyone about it.

“Nothing with true value happens overnight or happens just like that. Everything takes time,” Nadxely Sanchez of Milwaukee said.

Sunday’s keynote address touched on how teens, particularly girls and persons of color, feel unheard in our society. Addressing inequality for them is an issue that shouldn’t be ignored.

“[It was about] asking questions that were much deeper than the ones that we were having when we first embarked on a conversation on inequality. I also have to say this as a kid who grew up working class...having those conversations was kind of sticky and intense,” Aisha Fukushima, the teen summit’s keynote speaker for Sunday, said.

The summit ends on Tuesday. Here’s a link to the event’s Facebook to follow, https://www.facebook.com/TeenSummitWI/.

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