The correlation between teen pregnancy and sexual assault has recently been recognized in the development of a community outreach program, called TEEN P.O.W.E.R. (Pregnancy Prevention With Education and Resources).
Teen P.O.W.E.R. is dedicated to decreasing teenage pregnancy by educating adoslescents about lifestyle choices and goal setting to help prepqre for the future. In order to inspire youth, Teen P.O.W.E.R. provides a safe place for teens to learn about themselves and how their choices can affect their future.
Teen P.O.W.E.R. operates in small, same-sex groups to create a safe and open environment for the participants. The workshops are run in schools, after school programs, foster homes, church youth groups and within other small groups of adolescents.
Two-thirds of a sample of young women who became pregnant as adolescents had been victims of attempted rape, and 44% had been raped. (Boyer, D. and Fine, D., Family Planning Perspectives, vol. 24, 1992)
The program, developed by Rape Crisis Intervention, and funded by Butte County Children and Families Commission, will focus mainly on the outlying areas of Butte County. The general desired outcome will be the improved overall health of the community and its members, but the main focus will be intervention and prevention of sexual assault. Outreach efforts will feature Asset Development education workshops, peer counseling, and support groups, and will target the public at large, with particular focus on pregnant teens, teen parents, and their siblings.
The number of teen pregnancies in our community has been fluctuating up and down over the years. We have now developed a program with the hope of keeping those numbers down by inspiring youth to reach for their highest goals. The workshops of Teen P.O.W.E.R. are geared towards small groups of adolescent men and women. The program, which consists of six workshops, covers subjects such as healthy relationships, self-esteem, sexual assault, goals and the reality of being a teen parent.
Upon completion of this program, it is our goal that the participants have a greater understanding of themselves and the choices that they can make to better their lives. As teens gain this knowledge we would hope they continue to educate their peers and others within the community.
The motto of the Children and Families Commission is, "It's all about the kids." With this in mind, our goal is to dispel myths about sexual assault, help victims regain a sense of control over their lives, educate those most vulnerable to assault to protect themselves, and encourage all community members to accept personal responsibility for supporting the rights of victims. Only through education, and personal and group advocacy, can our community actively prevent assault. As our community becomes increasingly aware of what sexual assault is, and how it occurs, together we may be able to decrease the chances of it happening to those we know and love.