Thursday, February 19, 2009

MADE (Moms & Dads for Educating to Stop Teen Dating Abuse)

Dear friends and family,

I have recently become a MADE (Moms and Dads for Education to Stop Teen Dating Abuse) State Action leader for Michigan. MADE is a national, grassroots movement of moms, dads, educators, teens, and ANYONE who wants our youth to be educated about teen dating abuse. As someone who experienced relationship violence as a teenager and young adult, I am incredibly excited about this project and I hope that you will join MADE with me.

Last week the tragic violent incident involving popular teenage singers Chris Brown and Rihanna has highlighted the need for teen dating violence awareness and education. Our young people are aware of the story. Now is the time for a teaching moment and for ensuring that we educate about the crisis of teen dating violence and abuse. According to the Department of Justice, females between the ages of 16 and 24 are more vulnerable to intimate partner violence than any other age group--at a rate almost triple the national average [U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report: Intimate Partner Violence and Age of Victim, 1993-99 (Oct. 2001, rev. 11/28/01]. Nearly one-half of adult sex offenders report committing their first sexual offenses prior to the age of 18 [Ron Snipe, et Al, “Recidivism in Young Adulthood, Adolescent Sexual Offenders Grown Up,” 25 Criminal Justice & Behavior, 109,117, (1998)].

If you believe that education on teen dating abuse is essential to our youth, go to the MADE website at and sign our petition. Then you will become one of the hundreds (soon, thousands) of people across the country who have joined MADE and want to prevent dating abuse among our teens. 

Becoming a MADE member can be as simple as signing the online petition. But there are other things that MADE members are doing and ways to get more involved. MADE is working hard to ensure that Michigan government mandates dating violence education in all public secondary schools ASAP. That has not happened yet, but for now schools can take it upon themselves to begin this essential education. This is where your help is needed! 

Check out our online MADE toolkit. The Education Development Center and the Liz Claiborne corporation developed a teen dating violence curriculum that has been used in more than 1500 schools across the country. This three-day curriculum is free and easy to use. Any health teacher (or really ANY teacher) can integrate it into their courses. You can provide this free curriculum to any junior high and high schools in your district, area, alma mater, or anywhere else you're comfortable with. You can find the "Love Is Not Abuse Curriculum 2008" under the resources section of the website ( along with a template letter to send to schools. 

There are a lot of other resources on the site at Please take a few minutes to join MADE by signing the petition, and let me know if you do. 

Now is the time to take action. If not now, when?

Sara Vos



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