Teens pledging to end relationship abuse

(WVLT) -- October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. A new program launching this month a program to educate teens on relationship abuse and empower them to engage in healthy relationships. Whalen Williams with the NFL Players Association says, "A lot of the life lessons that we do with our NFL players...those messages we thought were important to teenagers as well so we do everything from dropout prevention, gang prevention, SAT/ACT test prep...the NFL players talk about overcoming adversity and healthy relationships as well."

One in three teens experience relationship abuse and nearly half report having done something that compromised their values to please their partner. Ted Bunch, co-founder of "A Call To Men" says, "One out of three teens who admit to being in an abused relationship or to experience abuse in a relationship...we know about 85% of those that are perpetrating that abuse are male. So this gave us an opportunity to coach and encourage a healthy and respectful behavior in relationships but especially to the young men because what they're often doing is modeling what they're seeing adult men do, which is seeking to dominate and control the woman that they're involved with and in this case teen -- the young one that they're involved with. So it's really about teaching them about what a healthy relationship is. Many of these children have not experienced what a healthy relationship is, have not witnessed it, so we're able to give them information through this 8-week intensive curriculum around relationships and respect."

Training Camps for Life (TCFL), a partnership between the NFL Players Association, "A Call To Men," and the Verizon Foundation are going to high schools across the country. Each Training Camp will reach between 300-500 teens and will include a post-event in-class curriculum designed to help teens heal from past abuse, engage in healthy teen relationships, and increase safety on school campuses.

Participants will have the option to take the LIVERESPECT pledge (liverespect.org), a commitment to end dating abuse and domestic violence, including:
-Treating people with dignity and respect
-Not physically, emotionally or verbally abusing anyone
-Never blaming someone for being abused
-Speaking out against violence

"The pledge is called the live respect pledge. It's where we encourage not only teens but adults as well to take this pledge at liverespect.org. The pledge basically states that they pledge to treat people with dignity and respect to not physicaly, emotionally, or verbally abuse anyone. They pledge to never blame someone for being abused and also to speak out against violence. That's the essence of the pledge and we encourage everyone to go and take that pledge in order to start working toward a more healthy and respecful relationship and also to model that with their friends," says Bunch.

Lupita Reyes with the Verizon Foundation says the Training Camps For Life is providing a great ooportunity for these teens. This is where the Verizon Foundation is thrilled to partner with "A Call To Men" because we actually take the curriculum back into the schools so that we can see real and lasting change within the students because we think it's important that repetition and this curriculum with the staff and the teachers will help the students really live healthy relationships and live respect in their lives."

For more information on the Live Respect Pledge, visit:
Learn more about "A Call To Men" by visiting:
More information about the Verizon Foundation can be found at: