Alexandria’s Sexual Assault Center trains high school students in peer advocacy

Virginia

The students will learn how to be an ally to someone who has experienced dating violence or sexual assault, before bringing it to the attention of a trusted adult

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — Six T.C. Williams High School students are being trained to help their peers in situations of sexual assault, dating violence, and harassment as part of the first year of the City of Alexandria’s Sexual Assault Center’s Peer Advocacy Program.

“I thought that it would be great to start in high school,” said Ashley Blow, an outreach prevention specialist who founded the peer advocacy program. “This is where a lot of youth are experiencing those issues. At least 50 percent have experienced teen dating violence or a sexual assault.”

For the next couple of months, five peer advocates and one student social media coordinator will learn how to be an ally to someone who has experienced dating violence or sexual assault, before bringing it to the attention of a trusted adult.

“There are teens — I’d say there are lot of them, actually — who don’t feel like they have an adult that they do trust to begin with,” said Peer Advocate Tiger Orellana. “For some people it’s not an option, you know?

Throughout the school year, the peer advocates will host trainings and workshops and will be active on social media to spread the word about the program.

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