By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer
A group devoted to reducing domestic violence in the Muskogee area is planning its first big event to help adolescent girls.
The Domestic Violence Prevention Network began last year as a group of like-minded individuals, representing groups that serve victims of violence, meeting to discuss creating change.
That group has planned a “Girls’ Night In” sleepover at the Muskogee Teen Center on March 15 for a night of fun and education for girls in grades seventh- through 12th-grade.
“We’ve wanted to do something for a while,” said Kathy Durland. “So we’ve been meeting with Eileen VanKirk over at the Muskogee Teen Center, and we’ve coordinated this event with the Girl Scouts.”
Durland, who is also with Soroptimist International of Muskogee, is helping organize the lock-in. She said other organizations are welcome to offer assistance.
“We’d like to give anybody the opportunity to volunteer, maybe just as additional chaperones for the night, maybe offering door prizes for the girls, anything to help,” Durland said.
The group plans to fill the night with fun and with educational activities, she said.
The Muskogee Domestic Violence Prevention Network was formed to bring together all people who are interested in working against domestic violence.
The group believes “if we work together, we can leverage our talents and resources to make a bigger impact against domestic violence in our community,” according to its website muskogeedvnetwork.blogspot.com.
Their target for their first event is adolescent girls — teaching them self-respect, how to protect themselves and how they should be treated in dating situations.
According to loveisrespect.org:
• Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year;
• One in three adolescents in the United States is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner — a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence;
• One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend;
• One quarter of high school girls have been victims of physical or sexual abuse.
The Domestic Violence Prevention Network hopes to help girls avoid becoming victims through such programs as Girls’ Night In, Durland said.
Information on Girls’ Night In, the Muskogee Domestic Violence Prevention Network or Soroptimist International: (918) 687-0704.
The Domestic Violence Prevention Network meets again at noon March 5 at the Muskogee NonProfit Resource Center, 209 N. Second St.
Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton
If you go
WHAT: Girls’ Night In.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. March 15 through 8 a.m. March 16.
WHERE: Muskogee Teen Center, 322 Callahan St.
ETC.: Free to attend for girls seventh- through 12th-grade. There will be a registration process announced closer to March 15.
INFORMATION: (918) 687-0704.
You can help
Items for goody bags for the girls who will attend Girls’ Night In, as well as door prizes and chaperones, are needed for Girls’ Night In. Information: (918) 687-0704.