By Sumiya Kibria ’17
Abuse is to treat a person with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly. The Relationship Abuse Prevention Program (RAPP) is targeting students who have difficulty maintaining relationships with others due to abuse.
Social Worker Hayley Schwartz has been associated with RAPP for five years now and has been with Midwood High School for the past year. She works with multiple students in private and group sessions to help them improve their ways of maintaining relationships with other people. In group sessions she visits classrooms and talks with students on the different types of abuse in relationships and how they lead to power and control.
“I think having space for students to just be able to explore and be heard is safe overall,” said Ms. Hayley. “Being able to share things with someone can reduce pressure and that’s what I’m here to do.”
Many students who have participated in the group sessions responded with positive feedback. They told Ms. Hayley how much the sessions have helped them better understand relationships
“It helps us better understand what to do and what not to do in relationships,” Shehrukh Wasif ’17 said. “It gives students the opportunity to open up about their connections and share their perspectives from their own experiences.”
Some of the types of abuse mentioned in the group sessions are sexual and physical abuse. Sexual abuse is forcing undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. Physical abuse is the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain or impairment. Physical abuse may include acts of violence such as hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking and more.
“I feel like knowing that there’s someone like her in the school is very satisfying, because now I’m sure I can go to someone and talk about issues I’m having with others,” Fatima Hoque ‘17 added. “It’s easier to function when we can let out our feelings and share it with someone we know can help us out.”
Ms. Hayley mentioned, “If you need help with anything, literally anything, come to room 485, I’m always here to help.”