Tuesday, October 28, 2014

“Nobody’s Business” drama by group of young adults brings awareness to dating violence

By Shelly Burke, Editor

A group of young adults in Columbus, NE, is bringing awareness to a sensitive but important topic; dating violence and sexual assault. “Revolution”, a group of about 40 young adults that range in age from freshmen in high school to sophomores in college, writes and presents a drama about dating violence and sexual assault every year, and presents it to various groups throughout the year.

The name of the drama this year is “Nobody’s Business.” It’s about three couples; one with domestic violence, one with sexual assault and one couple with a healthy relationship. Abbie Tessendorf, Revolution Supervisor, started with the Center for Survivors,  which Revolution is associated with, in 2000. While working with youth she realized that she enjoyed prevention work; she became the Revolution Supervisor in 2008. Abbie says, “My favorite part of the presentation is after the dramatization. The audience gets to question the actors, who answer in the character of who they played in the drama. The audience asks why they think and acted as they did during the drama. It’s very powerful.”

The actors then come out of character and provide information about the behavior of the person they played in the drama. The presentation ends with a slideshow and a “call to action” by one of the group members.

All of the Revolution members go through 16 hours of training to learn about dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, and mandatory monthly meetings include more education about those issues. The focus is on recognizing the signs of violence and helping friends who may be experiencing it. Members who act in the drama and presentation receive much more training and rehearse for months before presenting it.

The group typically presents at high schools; there is no charge for the presentations if they are done in The Center for Survivors service area of Platte, Colfax, Butler, Boone, Nance and Polk Counties. If a presentation is requested out of this area the group only asks for travel costs to be covered.  This year “Nobody’s Business” will be also be presented at the “No More” conference in late October and at the Hastings Campus of Central Community College, in November.

Abbie  describes how Revolution has touched lives. “When I first started with the group, I knew it would have a profound effect on the members of the group, but I had no idea how it would touch the lives of those who see it. I think for some, seeing the drama puts a name to something awful that has happened to them, and for others they feel like they see interactions around them differently. I think victims feel some shame lifted and friends feel like they know better how to help. The young people involved with Revolution have a huge passion for others, and they want to make their world a better place.”  

If you would like Revolution to present to your group, please contact Abbie Tessendorf at The Center for Survivors by calling (402) 564-2155, or e-mail her at abbie@centerforsurvivors.net.

See the Ask the Expert column, by Abbie Tessendorf,  on this page for things you can do to protect your kids from teen dating violence.

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