On April 6, I was asked by the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence to close out their teen summit.
What’s a teen summit? FCADV, in a effort to educate and incorporate teens in preventing domestic violence, puts on an annual conference to educate, inspire, and motivate the teens in attendance to go out and work on preventing domestic violence.
These teens have taken the innititiate to decide to end domestic violence once and for all. Many people question what a group of teens can truly do? The answer is amazing!
Groups of teens have put on carnivals, youtube videos and PSA’s with thousands of visits, websites for teens, and plays all over the country speaking to everyone about what a healthy relationship is and why we need to end DV.
In fact multiple student lead Anti Domestic Violence clubs and organizations have been created and reached national attention with congress and the senate.
The Teen movement is not one to be swept underneath the rug, and if you are about to,…all you have to do is do a youtube or google search about teens preventing domestic violence and you will see a whole new view of what Teens are doing….and you will wonder why adults aren’t doing more.
My goal was to inspire them. My goal was to motivate them. My goal was to make them want to do something to change domestic violence right now!
This is my speech. I share it so that maybe it will inspire you, or someone you send it to…to do something to End Domestic Violence!
“You, everyone in this room below the age of 20. You did not create this problem that we now call Intimate Partner Violence or Domestic Violence. You did not create this. You did not develop or continue it. This is not your problem. This is a problem you inherited. But you know something, everyone in this room above the age of 20..they didn’t create this problem either. They didn’t ask for, they didn’t perpetuate it, and they didn’t want it for you. This problem of domestic abuse was inherited from their parents, and their parents, and their parents. This is a very old problem that needs to be eradicated. This is a problem that has become normalized.
“This problem is so normalized that when some hears that you are part of a domestic violence relationship they say “oh yeah.” Because they not only know what that means. They’ve seen it before. They’ve heard about it before. They’ve seen the PSAs. They’ve seen it on TV, movies, radio, songs, poems, viral videos, reality tv, and youtube. It’s been there and it always has been part of their lives. It’s so normalized that we accept it exists, we accept it’s happening, and we accept that it’s a normal part of our existence.
“There have been so many times that I have been in front of groups of adults and teens alike, and I say that we can end this and they respond: No We can’t. It’s been here, and it always will. It’s just “the way it is”, it’s “the way we are”, “it’s the normal way of things”. I’ve heard this blamed on drugs and anger as well as race, hereditary, and religion.
“But never once do people say “maybe, just maybe, there’s a way to end it. Maybe it’s not “just the way it is”. But we, right here, know there is a way to end it and stop the abuse altogether. We know abuse is taught. We know abuse is learned. We know there is a way to end this abuse…even though it’s so normalized now.
“Prevention is possible! Once flying was impossible. Once radios were impossible. Once TV was impossible. Once the 5 minute mile was impossible. Once computers were impossible. In fact, in 1901, the head of the patent office said “everything that there will never be any new inventions from this point on.”
“Once tobacco cessation was thought impossible. Once electric cars and solar panels were considered impossible. At one point it was considered normal and “just the way it is” when hundreds of thousands of people were displaced from their homeland and massacred by the millions because they were in the way.
“At one point our society and our reality had racial lines and lines that divided the different skin colors. Different nationalities, country-persons, and nationalities were not seen to exist in the same world. Once racial equality was sen as impossible. And someone stood up and said, maybe just maybe we have the opportunity to end that. Maybe just maybe we have the ability to change this. Maybe we can change what so many people see as normal.
“Remember, this movement didn’t come about because of money, agencies, coalitions, or technology. This movement is not fighting to cure a disease or feed anyone….No. This movement was created by a group of people who believed that hurting anyone, especially the person you say you love is wrong. This movement was started by men and women who merely wanted husbands to stop hurting their loving mates. They simply wanted the violence to stop! We have inherited this movement and this cause from the great men and women who simply asked for everyone to see the violence against women as a reality that needed to stop. As Sir Isacc Newton said, I did not do this. I was merely able to do this, by standing on the shoulders of giants. And my friends, that is exactly where we are. Look around at the older people in the room, they have lead us to this point. They have wielded their belief that there should only be respectful relationships free of power and control, and they have spread this message worldwide. But remember, this movement was not formed to protect women, or men, or couples – No! This movement was created to protect all people from being abused and killed. Stop people from being verbally and mentally abused. Stop people from being sexually and physically abused. To stop people from being hurt and killed.
“But how? How do we stop this. It’s such a simple answer to end all of this. It’s not like we’re looking for the exact right chemical that will attack a disease in just the right way to destroy it. It’s not like we are cre4ating life…thank you ladies in the room, I for one am awed by the fact that you can do this! No…we are simply asking people to not hurt the one they love. All we have to do is stop people from hurting others. All we have to do is stop people from hurting the people they love. How simple it sounds. Btu now, let’s here from those who will inherit our planet and this problem.
“Young ladies and young gentlemen, what are your ideas given no budgets, given no restrictions…what can we do?
“Lets start teaching. Teaching every person from 1 to 101. We teach every person we can, and every person we can get in front of. We teach them what a healthy relationship looks like, feels like, and acts like. We talk about healthy relationships, we talk about gender equality, and we talk about how being a man is being respectful to women. Then we reteach the adults again and again…it takes longer for them to learn. We spread it in the newspaper, we spread it in the movies, the you tube videos,…add ideas they came up with, we blog about it, we tweet about it, we tumble about it, we kik about it, we instagram about it, we use every resource we have to make sure every person understands it. We make sure that healthy relationships are on every single persons tongue…then you know what happens: We succeed. We create a world where abuse is seen as foreign as the “N” word is, as foreign as the thought that “nazism is a good idea”.
“Today, we look back and see what our ancestors did to the races of color and the Native Americans and we can’t help but hold our head low because of these memories. But somebody did stand up. Somebody did end these atrocities, so that we CAN look back and shake our heads in disbelief.
“Want to hear something even cooler. You! You are happening. Everything I just said is already starting to happen. Isn’t that awesome? People ages 9,10,11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18 are already starting to do amazing things. Look at the ideas we just heard. The amazing great and incredible ideas we just heard? There are people who are in this room right now! That’s what’s so cool. We don’t have to wait till we become adults to create positive change…you’re doing it right now. We can do this right now! That is te beginning. You are creating that beginning. But you can’t stop! You must continue! After this conference, after this day, after you’re in your own school…you have to keep the momentum going. You can keep this up
“Now is that time. Now is the time to decide enough is enough. Now is the time to say, yes we can do something. Now is the time to say it is a time for change. Now is the time to say say we have a solution to ending IPV. Now is the time we change the world of our great grand kinds. Now is that critical turning point in history. Now is that moment. The moment where we change what’s normal. Now, is the moment we change what has been accepted for so long as normal. Now is the time we recreate what is seen as a “normal relationship” into what a “healthy relationship” truly is!
“Now is the time to decide we are the agents of change. We are the ones that will create a solution when the others couldn’t. We are the ones that will develop new ideas, develop better ways of getting into people’s heads, and WE are the ones that will see the end of this plague. The actions that we do,today, will reinvent the world and end this problem that has plagued our society for so long. Remember if someone doesn’t believe that this will change, it is your job to change their mind and show everyone that abuse can and will be a thing of the past. We are the future, we are the answer. Now is the time to stand up and join me….stand up….join me up here.
“We are the agents of change and we are the ones that will change this world. Who are we? Who are we?
“Yes, we are the ones that will end this abused and change the status quo!
“We are the ones that will end this abuse NOW!”
As much as I can…I will post my speeches so people can read the speech that was heard by hundreds…and maybe, just maybe it will inspire and motivate them to do something.