Teen Dating Violence Awareness Walk-a-thon a success

‘Love is not abuse’ was one of the many messages conveyed during an emotional event, the fourth annual New York City Teen Dating Violence Awareness Walk-a-thon, which drew a big crowd of teenage girls, boys and parents who gathered at the Brooklyn Bridge and City Hall to raise awareness of the often-unrecognized issue.

The walk, New York City’s only walk for teen dating violence, was held on Saturday, April 18, was run by The Healing Center NY, an organization founded in 2000 to serve those who suffer in silence because of it.

The rally began at Cadman Plaza and Tillary Street at 9 a.m. The march continued with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, and concluded with a press conference on the steps of City Hall at 1 p.m.

During the rally and the press conference, participants discussed their personal stories of violence and how they are learning to cope with the trauma. Attendees also held signs that read “Real men don’t batter” and “No one deserves to be abused.”

“Domestic violence is one of America’s deepest and darkest secrets. It was never discussed, was often ignored, and thousands upon thousands suffered in silence. But, those voices are being heard,” said Executive Director of The Healing Center, Antonia Clemente. “Our challenge as a city is the challenge of The Healing Center – end the cycle of violence and care for its survivors. We’re walking to call attention to teen dating relationships, which is one of the places domestic violence gains a foothold in the cycle.”

The emotional day was considered a success, according to Sandra Torres, youth coordinator for The Healing Center. “I would like to say that Saturday was a successful, fierce collective demonstration of various communities creating safe spaces to prevent future victims of Teen Dating Violence,” she said.

Marchers gathered near Borough Hall before the event.
Marchers gathered near Borough Hall before the event.

BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photo by Corazon Aguirre

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