A Letter From CEO Judith Kahan May 2011

The past few months have been very busy for us here at the Center Against Domestic Violence.  We are once again working to save our Teen Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP) which is in danger of being slashed from New York City’s budget.  This Citywide education program reaches 50,000 teens annually – it’s the largest such program in the country. RAPP operates on a 3 million dollar budget, that’s only $60 per student. It’s a program that works and it’s cost effective.

While we have been focusing our attention and energy saving RAPP, we have seen a flood of press about teen dating violence and teen bullying.  The realities of teen abuse hit the mainstream press with shocking force. In the past year 24 young people have committed suicide because of bullying they endured at school.  Over the last year we’ve come to recognize how important RAPP is to all students in the schools we work. Dating violence and bullying are linked behaviors. The most outstanding finding, according Dr. Robert Sege, chief of ambulatory pediatrics at Boston Medical Center, was how often bullies and bully-victims had been exposed to domestic violence.  In the survey, 23% of bully-victims in middle school and 20% of high school bully-victims reported having been physically hurt by a family member during the past year.  In addition, 19% of middle school bullies and 14% of high school bullies had been subjected to familial violence, compared to 14% of middle school victims and 13% of high school victims.

Let’s repeat last year’s victory together. Go to www.saverapp.org and visit our “Take Action” page and tell Mayor Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and members of the City Council we need RAPP! You only need to click “Submit” once and everyone will get a copy.