On July 4, the body of 18-year-old Lauren Astley was found in a swamp in Wayland, Mass. Her former boyfriend, also a resident of Wayland, has been charged with her murder. This quiet suburban community outside of Boston has been devastated by a tragedy that has altered the lives of two local families forever.
More recently, on September 30, Cindi Santana, age 17, was allegedly stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend on her LA-area high school’s campus. Last week, on October 12, hundreds went to a nearby auditorium to mourn her death. Earlier that day, the Los Angeles Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to expand programs designed to prevent teen dating violence.
In Wayland, the schools and the larger community have undertaken a number of initiatives in an effort to begin to transform grief into constructive action. One such event is a panel on dating violence, to be held on Tuesday, October 18 at 7:30 p.m. at First Parish Church in Wayland. The panel is part of a series of events hosted by the Walden Forum, a free public series that brings people together to discuss important ethical, religious, political, scientific and social topics.
The forum talk will be presented jointly by Dr. Emily F. Rothman, an Associate Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health; Casey Corcoran, the Director of the Start Strong dating violence prevention initiative at the Boston Public Health Commission; and Joanne Patterson, the Director of Education and Prevention programs at REACH Beyond Domestic Violence.
The speakers will discuss the prevalence of dating abuse in the United States, review what is known about risk and protective factors for perpetration and victimization, and outline elements of the most successful prevention initiatives. In addition, they will highlight cutting-edge dating violence prevention materials and events (including the “Break Up Summit,” which was recently featured on the CBS Early Show), and elaborate on the local prevention efforts that are scheduled to take place in 2011-12. The panel also will discuss the elements of a healthy relationships.
Emily Rothman, ScD, is a dating violence researcher in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health and a visiting scientist at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center (HICRC). She earned her doctorate from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2004, where her dissertation research focused on correlates of intimate partner violence perpetration, and where she was awarded the Martha May Eliot fellowship in Maternal and Child Health.
Casey Corcoran is the Director of the Start Strong Initiative at the Boston Public Health Commission. The initiative focuses on preventing teen dating violence and promoting healthy relationships. The youth-driven work of Start Strong Boston has been featured on MSNBC, CNN, The Early Show and was recently profiled in the New York Times Magazine. For the past ten years Corcoran has also worked with at-risk adults and youth in Boston around issues of dating violence, domestic violence and sexual health.
Joanne Patterson, MPH/MSW is the Director of Education and Prevention Programs at REACH Beyond Domestic Violence. She received her Master’s degrees from Boston University where her work focused on women’s health and violence prevention. The founder of Peers Against ViolencE (PAVE), a dating abuse prevention program, Patterson has engaged over 10,000 teens and adults in Massachusetts through community-based training and an annual leadership summit.
About Walden Forum
The Walden Forum is a non-religious community program supported by First Parish in Wayland and others, and held at the historic 1815 First Parish Meetinghouse at the intersection of Routes 20 and 27 in Wayland Center. For more information visit www.waldenforum.org or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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