New Jersey students create powerful video about sexual violence

ENGLEWOOD, New Jersey (WABC) -- A group of high school students in New Jersey is trying to spark honest discussion and prompt change when it comes to sexual violence. The group of teens from Bergen County put together a powerful video to confront a violence in which 90 percent of victims are female.

"182 of our classmates will be the victim of violence in her lifetime," says one of the students in the six minute, 40 second video filled with facts and statistics about sexual assault.

Justin Sohn was a senior at the Frisch School when he took part in the production.

"I'm talking to all of the men out there," he said. "We need to be part of this initiative."

Seventeen-year-old Miles Sinclair Edgar was proud to be a part of the initiative. He's in the video too.

"I think if it becomes popular, people keep seeing it, it will spread a message hopefully," he said.
The video is just a backdrop for a more comprehensive sexual violence prevention program for these students. It's one of the programs the non-profit organization The Bergen Family Center operates at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood.

"It's called Project Speak Out, and that actually is a name given after we did the video," Bergen Family Center vice president and director of programs Liz Corsini said. "That video was made with an iPhone...The storyboard was made with students."

Emain Rauf is a senior who received peer sexual violence intervention training as part of Project Speak Out.

"We started to talk about what it looks like real terms, and what it looks like on college campuses," she said.

It is a topic that is coming up more and more, shedding light on an issue that may have been buried in the past.

"It happens often," said Giselley Peralta, also a senior. "You may not see it. You may not believe it. But it does happen."

But the key to the program's success is participation by high school athletes.

"First, we learned the three Ds, which are 'direct, distract and delegate,'" said Karl Monval, a senior who plays football and baseball. "And that's how to get involved, even if you don't really want to get involved."

George Garrison IV plays football, basketball and runs track.

"With this training, honestly it's taught me really why it's wrong," he said.

Barry Harris is the assistant football coach.

"Our players responded well through the training," he said. "They knew this training was going to help him, and then went off to college."

But before these students even get to higher education, they are putting these skills to use now.

"I've been a couple situations where a girl has told me, like, he's not treating me right or he put his hands on her in certain cases," said Le-Keil Herring, a senior football player.

School administrators are happy with the program.

"It's a critical conversation we have to have at this level, because it's something we see on a daily basis," principal Dr. Billy Bowie said.
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