This summer, fifteen students from The Children’s Aid Society (CAS) participated in RAP’s Youth LEAP program as part of their Summer Youth Employment positions. RAP interns Miriam Bial and Shannika Campbell facilitated the workshops, which were focused on dating violence. Through the Youth LEAP group, participants learned about the legal rights of minors who experience violence in their intimate relationships. In the first workshop the students watched Rihanna’s Love the Way You Lie, a popular video touching on the theme of relationship violence. The CAS students discussed the song and were inspired to make their own short video about dating violence. They did their own research, produced a poster and fact sheet on relationship violence, and shot the video at the Riverside Park near Columbia University — all within a period of two months.
The film shows blindfolded youth holding up posters with relevant statistics, such as:
- Only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone.
- Half of youth who have been victims of dating violence and rape attempt suicide.
- One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of abuse from a dating partner.
The video, entitled Don’t Be Blinded by Love, was launched at the Community Building Summer Internship Appreciation Ceremony organized by CAS to showcase the work of the students over the summer. Appreciation Ceremony attendees, many of them staff people in the offices of local politicians with whom the CAS students interned this summer, were encouraged to take the fact sheets and posters back to their offices to share with their constituents.