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Area teens to present dating violence drama

One in five high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. One in three teenagers reports knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, strangled or physically hurt by their dating partner. At least 80 percent of teens regard verbal abuse as a “serious issue” for their age group. Half of parents of teenagers admit they have not talked to their child about dating violence.

February is Teen Dating Violence Month, a nationwide observance bringing attention to violence and abuse in dating relationships. Elijah Haven Crisis Intervention Center of LaGrange is a not-for-profit agency committed to peace and non-violence in the home and community. The agency works to meet the needs of victims of domestic violence, as well as create awareness on the issue relationship violence.

With support from Elijah Haven, an original drama about teen dating violence will be performed by students from three LaGrange County schools in April and May. “The Outrage” is funded by grants awarded to Elijah Haven Crisis Intervention Center by LaGrange County REMC's Round-Up initiative and by L.I.F.E. (LaGrange Independent Foundation for Endowments). Ten teens from Lakeland, Prairie Heights and Westview high schools will present the 20-minute drama in convocations at the three county schools. The performances are timed to coincide with school prom dates.

Sarah Rogers of LaGrange is director of the powerful drama. The cast includes Robin Purlee and Avery Glick from Lakeland High School, Keenan Crotty, Kyle Baker, Erika Byler and Briauna Wisler from Westview High School, Kiska Carr and MacKenna McGraw from Prairie Heights High School and homeschooled senior David Rogers.

The name of the play is taken from the phrase “If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.” It was written by Allison Basinger, Education and Prevention Advocate at SAFEHOME, Inc., of Johnson County, Kansas. The drama has garnered numerous awards and has been presented before the National Summit on Gender-Based Violence Among Young People. These will be the first performances of “The Outrage” in Indiana.

In 2011, Elijah Haven served over 100 clients through counseling and support groups, as well as legal, financial and social services advocacy. The agency's offices are located at 201 S. Detroit St., LaGrange, and may be reached at 463-8700.