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A lot of times, teens recognize the signs of abuse—but in their parents’ relationship. Studies Show Early Education About Violence Makes a Difference Educating teens who grow up in households with abuse can help break the cycle.
“We’re helping these kids realize what healthy relationships are.
Those who say something typically talk to a friend.
Statistics like these pushed Bobbi and Ric to launch Kaity’s Way, a nonprofit organization that promotes safe, healthy teen dating relationships and raises community awareness of teen dating violence.
Hearing Kaity’s story can be a wake-up call for teens who are being abused, Bobbi points out.
“It’s highly encouraged for a parent or guardian to attend the workshop—that gets at least one parent and the juvenile on the same page,” Bobbi says.
A month later, he assaulted her at school and Kaity and her family got an injunction against harassment to help protect her. A few weeks later, while Kaity was walking home from school, her ex-boyfriend shot and killed her before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide. “She was a victim of teen dating violence in the worst imaginable way,” says her mother, Bobbi Sudberry.
After Kaity’s death, Bobbi and her husband, Ric, realized how little awareness there was surrounding teen dating violence.
Investigators said he was already with a new woman when he was arrested. He's facing multiple charges including indecent liberties, harassment and assault.“Part of the reason things went so far south was that people thought, ‘it’s just a couple of kids, it’s not a big deal, it will blow over.’ We couldn’t get any help, and the situation escalated and went out of control,” Bobbi says.Just a couple of weeks after Kaity was killed, Bobbi’s neighbor, a professor of women’s studies at Arizona State University, asked Bobbi if she would share Kaity’s story at a symposium on domestic violence.We get the community to realize they all play a part—teen dating violence is a societal disease.It’s an epidemic, but once it’s acknowledged we have the power to put an end to it,” Bobbi says.