THE 3-MINUTE INTERVIEW: The 3-Minute Interview: Debbie Feinstein talks about the upcomingChoose Respect Montgomery Teen Dating Conference

People,Kate Jacobson

Feinstein is co-chairwoman of the planning committee for Montgomery County's Fourth Annual Choose Respect Montgomery Teen Dating Conference. The conference focuses on educating teens about dating violence and how to stand up against it. The free conference offers speakers, workshops and a live musical performances on March 3 at the Montgomery College's Germantown Campus.

What is the vision for the conference?

We need to get the word out that teen dating violence happens. The vision is to join together interesting, fun, interactive presentations and music, and things that will appeal to teens -- as well as having a serious educational message. The presentations and the workshops are going to be really great. We're doing a multimedia presentation that we rolled out for a teen focus group and got rave reviews.

How are teens affected by dating violence?

They're affected in a number of ways. Domestic violence is all about power and control. It can be through physical means, sexual means, verbal means, financial means ... [Statistics show] one in three teens experience dating violence. Those figures are astounding.

How has technology affected teen dating violence?

It's dramatically impacted it because we have so many ways to communicate with people now. And communication can be positive, or it can be used in a controlling way. There are lots of opportunities to post a picture or something online, and people can say really negative things, and controlling behaviors can happen. It can be used for really scary stuff.

What can families walk away with from the conference?

They're going to know how to recognize the signs [of teen dating violence], stand up for themselves and stand up for their friends. They're going to know how to create healthy relationships. It's not OK to joke about negative and abusive things, and it's not OK for others to exhibit negative and controlling behavior.

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