Written by: Brandi Milloy and Lee Fox

Most kids use the money saved from their first job to buy a car — but not Jordan Coleman.  After playing the voice of Tyrone on Nick Jr.’s Backyardians, his mom challenged her 12 year old son to “do” something positive with his earnings. 

This challenge ignited Jordan as a film-maker and he wrote, directed and produced “Say It Loud!” a documentary that explores the importance of education for African-American boys.  His work was showcased in AMC Theatres in a seven city tour and featured appearances by Rev. Al Sharpton, Ludacris and Kobe Bryant. 

Jordan’s next film, “Payin the Price” addresses teen dating violence, a subject which deserves more attention — and perhaps now will with the Presidential Proclamation that February is National Teen Dating Awareness and Prevention Month

Jordan says he was inspired to tackle this difficult subject after the violent incident between R&B couple Chris Brown and Rihanna that landed Chris Brown in jail and Rihanna in the hospital.  Determined to tackle this subject as his next film, Jordan began writing his script, and involved his family — his mother and brother for production support, and his father, Senator Adams for political support.  In June 2010 Jordan and Senator Adams held a press conference introducing two NYS Senate bills that protect domestic violence victims. 

Defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), dating violence is a pattern of violent behavior that someone uses against their partner to cause pain.

With close to 72% of 8th and 9th grade students dating these days, it’s important for this age-group to understand the challenge they are up against.

  • 1-in-4 teens reports verbal, physical, emotional or sexual violence each year
  • 1-in-5 high school girls has been physically or sexually abused by a dating partner
  • 1-in-11 teens reports being a victim of physical dating violence each year 

“According to national statistics, there are some parents who don’t believe teen dating violence is real, but it is.  And it’s happening more and more, and the violence is not just physical.  Now kids are using the internet and texting to bully and harass,” explained Jordan. 

Despite efforts to raise awareness of this issue, a vast majority of parents — an estimated 81% — believe that teen dating violence is either not an issue or admit to not knowing if it is an issue. 

  • Though 82% of parents feel confident that they could recognize the signs if their child was experiencing dating abuse, a majority of parents (58%) could not correctly identify the signs 
  • Even when the issue of dating violence was obvious to the parents, 78% of teens experiencing this type of abuse report staying in the relationship despite their parents’ advice.

Nationwide, 10% of students report being physically abused by a boyfriend or a girlfriend, which translates to 1.5 million teens nationwide.

While the relationship between the people is often different, the behaviors of bullies and teen dating violence offenders are the same.  Their actions are intentionally and repeatedly hurtful and involves a power differential.  Do you know the early warning signs of teen violence?

Jordan Coleman is not the only teen we know tackling the challenge of teen abuse. 

  • 13 year old Kate Garret started a Club at School and is selling wristbands to bring awareness around bullying (especially LGBT)
  • 14 year old Lindsay Swatland is part of a student-led activism group bringing awareness to teen dating violence yearlong.
  • 15 year old Patrick Kohlmann is a high school student who started an anti-bullying awareness campaign called “Through My Eyes.”  He ignited as a cause crusader after a bully in his school threatened his life, and pushed him down a flight of stairs. 
  • 16 year old Nadine Sanchez, Miss New Mexico’s new outstanding teen has made “Love Is Respect” her platform, serving to further raise awareness of teen dating violence.
  • 17 year old Artesse Conley, an ambassador of “Start Strong,” has used skits to explore how easily signs of affection among their peers can turn into control games, harassment and violence.
  • 17 year old Miranda Blomquist, is one of five members of a new student organization, “Stopping Abuse Forever” or SAFE, that gives members the chance to help peers impacted by the problem.

Now through 12/15/2011, KooDooZ is asking youth 18 years and younger to join Jordan in raising awareness for these types of abuse by putting their voice on camera and takling the challenge of teen violence through the creation of a PSA.  Challenge participants have the opportunity to earn money and hours will be credited towards the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

NOTE FROM LEE FOX:  Adults interested in investing a deeper understanding of this subject are encouraged to read “Tornado Warning” by Elin Stebbins Waldal, whose book portrays the effect that living through an abusive relationship can have.

About these ads