Kathy Student SOAR

[July 29, 2019] As a student at North Providence High School, I wasn't quite sure what topic I wanted to do for my senior project. The main goal from this project is to gain a lot of information on a topic you find interesting, especially because the entire assignment takes place over the course of nine months. For my senior project, I wanted to research domestic violence. In addition to the research I have been asked to do, I had also been required to meet with a mentor, or an expert within the field of my selection. I asked Kathy McCormick, who is member of the SOAR (Sisters Overcoming Abuse Relationships) taskforce with the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, to be my mentor.

Kathy and I have been working together over the past few months for me to gain an understanding of domestic violence and the impact it can have on victims. As a student in high school, I often see a lot of my friends and peers experiencing signs of dating violence. Some of the important signs that people tend to miss are when their partner starts to become very controlling. As a teen in high school, I have noticed some people think that by their partner being controlling, it is a sign that they care about you. Another thing I have noticed is that a lot of teens in high school do not think dating violence is a problem. One in five teenage girls said they have been in a relationship where their boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if a breakup were to occur. This is a big warning sign.

As part of my senior project, I was able to work with Kathy and plan an assembly for seniors here at North Providence High School. The assembly covered topics such as the different types of abuse, the warning signs, barriers, and red flags throughout her relationship. In addition, Kathy took questions from the audience about her story, her road to recovery, and how she is managing currently. After the assembly, students and teachers approached me regarding the assembly to talk about how much it had impacted them. Even people who were unable to attend have said they wished they did because they heard it was very eye-opening. I would absolutely like if this assembly was offered to more students in the future, even more times throughout the school year, because it is not something we always have an opportunity to learn about in school.

- Ashley, North Providence High School student