I recently had the opportunity to attend a powerful panel discussion at CBS News regarding an important topic involving today’s teens. While cyberbullying has finally become part of school curriculums, there’s a growing danger among teens that’s been on the rise in record numbers – dating and break up violence.
This Saturday, October 26 (10:00 PM, ET/PT) Tracy Smith and 48 HOURS report on a special investigation into the rise of dating and breakup violence among adolescents in an episode entitled “Loved to Death.”
This emotional episode shares the story of Lauren Astley, a popular teenager from Wayland, Mass., looking ahead to starting at Elon University in the fall. Lauren’s ex-boyfriend was Nathaniel Fujita, a star football player with a football scholarship to Trinity College. They had a tumultuous relationship with a pattern of breaking up and getting back together. But as their senior year was ending, Lauren had broken it off for good. By all accounts, Nathaniel struggled coming to terms with the breakup. Nathaniel’s mother was so worried about his post-breakup behavior she took him to a psychiatrist. Among Lauren’s friends, their relationship was discussed on social media.
Lauren secretly visited Nathaniel to see how he was doing. The meeting proved fatal for Lauren.
In a short time, a life was lost and two families were shattered forever. Along the way, their names were added to the growing and startling statistics on dating and breakup violence. Researchers estimate that one in three young adults between the ages of 14 and 20 has experienced some form of dating violence. “Of teenagers who are in abusive relationships, 3% will tell an authority figure, 6% will tell a family member, but 75% will tell a friend – that’s why we focus on kids,” former Middlesex County, Mass., District Attorney Gerry Leone tells 48 HOURS.
At the panel discussion that took place this week in New York City, 48 HOURS Senior Executive Producer Susan Zirinsky shared why it was so important to share Lauren’s story. “When someone has been through a personal experience that issue resonates so much more with somebody hearing their story and looking at themselves and saying maybe something like that can happen to me,” says Zirinsky, who shared that the issue of dating violence can happen to anyone. “It is the reality of living in a different time and place and the pressure is enormous. Seemingly normal kids will snap under that pressure and this is one of those stories,” she adds.
Reporter Tracy Smith, who covered this important story for 48 HOURS added, “This is an issue that’s been out there for a long time but adults haven’t taken it seriously.” Smith says that oftentimes parents chalk up their kids’ relationship troubles to “teen drama” but she adds, “it’s gotten more complicated now that it’s online.” She adds, “The other thing that’s changed is the signs we used to talk about were very obvious ones. The signs can be very subtle. There are subtle signs that someone is in a relationship that could be violent. And we are taking it more seriously. We’re talking about it more and it’s due in large part to the courage of parents like (Malcolm Astley) who are coming forward to share their stories.”
Malcolm Astley was courageous enough to share his painful story with 48 HOURS, revealing how his daughter’s death impacted his life. “I’m a gatherer of information and I got catapulted into this arena,” says Astley, who has made it his mission to educate parents and young people about the dangers of dating violence while lending his support to programs like Futures without Violence that counsel adolescent boys on how to effectively deal with their emotions.
Smith adds that dating violence “is a crime that has no zip code. It’s urban, suburban, and rural. A relationship ends and what happens is an emotional surge of uncontrollable anger. It can be verbal, physical and sometimes, as in the case of Lauren Astley, it can end in death.”
Smith and 48 HOURS report on Lauren’s rollercoaster relationship with Nathaniel, their breakup, and what led up to her brutal murder, through interviews with their friends, police investigators, prosecutors, Nathaniel’s uncle and Lauren’s parents. The broadcast also provides critical information parents and young adults need to know about the warning signs of dating violence and how not to become a victim. The broadcast features several Massachusetts high school programs, including a dating violence awareness club and Mentors in Violence Prevention aimed at helping teens recognize the signs of a healthy and unhealthy dating relationship.
48 HOURS: “Loved to Death” is produced by Marcelena Spencer. Kathleen O’Connell is the development producer. Mead Stone and Bruce Spiegel are the producer editors. Claire Anderson is the field producer. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Susan Zirinsky is the senior executive producer.
Chat with members of the 48 HOURS team during each broadcast on Twitter and Facebook.
The Good Wife: Explosive Episode Airing this Sunday!
I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things to do every Sunday night is curl up on the couch and dive into “The Good Wife” on CBS. From infidelity, to scandal, to politics to those intense courtroom scenes, the tension has been mounting this season as Alicia plots to leave Lockhart Gardner to start a new firm with her former colleagues. In this weekend’s explosive episode, Alicia and Cary’s plans to depart Lockhart/Gardner are suddenly exposed and a desperate battle to retain clients ensues. If you are like me and can’t wait to catch a sneak peak of the episode, then check this out now!
In anticipation of this intense episode, CBS wants to know…which team are you on? Team Lockhart/Gardner or Team Florick/Agos? Visit The Good Wife Facebook page and vote now!
If you haven’t watched the show, then now is definitely the time to get in on the action. “The Good Wife” stars Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, a wife and mother who reinvents her life following her husband’s sex and political corruption scandal. Four years into her tenure at the law firm of Lockhart/Gardner, Alicia accepts a prestigious partner offer from her bosses, Diane Lockhart, Will Gardner and David Lee. However, a mutual attraction with Will leaves Alicia conflicted after she agrees to renew her vows with her husband, Peter, who has won the gubernatorial election with the help of campaign manager Eli Gold. After much thought, Alicia agrees to leave Lockhart/Gardner to start a new firm with her colleague, Cary Agos, who is unable to convince investigator Kalinda Sharma to join them. Now, Alicia must find a way to balance her evolving career, her new position as First Lady of Illinois and her roles as a wife and mother to her teenage children, Zach and Grace. Emboldened by the prospect of taking control of her future, Alicia bravely ventures into unknown territory.
“The Good Wife” airs Sundays (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. To get caught up on the show and watch the five most pivotal episodes in “The Good Wife” history, check out the website and then make sure you watch the show this Sunday night!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.
Free Birds: Role Mommy Interviews Amy Poehler
Written by Role Mommy contributor, Kristin Flannery.
Rolemommy sat down with Amy Poehler to discuss her new animated movie, Freebirds, in theaters on November 1st. We talked turkey, what it was like playing the straight man and every mom’s worst nightmare… Forgetting where you are driving to.
Free Birds is the story of two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks who must put aside their differences and travel back in time to change the course of history – and get turkey off the Thanksgiving menu for good. Before Reggie and Jake become a main course at Standish’s dinner, they are rescued by Jenny (Amy Poehler), the beautiful and fierce daughter of the Wild Turkeys’ Chief Broadbeak (Keith David). Jenny leads the pair to the edge of the forest where the rest of her flock is hiding from the Pilgrims. Jake must teach the wild flock about the future and rally support for his mission to change history, but Reggie is apparently on a mission of the heart: falling beak-over-tail for Jenny.
Rolemommy is all about the strong woman characters and since this is something different from Amy’s usual zany characters, we asked her if it was hard for her to tone it down a little. It didn’t seem to be a problem for Amy, “she’s kind of the straight turkey in the movie. And animation’s so fun because you get to take really big jumps but you do sometimes need a force that’s grounding everything together, which I think the character Jenny is. And I didn’t really do so much of a voice in this because they really kind of wanted it to be kind of natural. But, I’ve played all different kinds of spectrum of that. So, it’s cool to actually play someone that feels like a somewhat normal animated character, if that makes sense. But, she’s also a turkey.”
Spoiler alert, Jenny turns out to be the chosen one of the tribe and we had to know how she felt being the chief, the supreme being of the movie. Always with amazing comedic timing, Amy responded “Oh, I thought you were talking to me, not my character. Yes, it feels great. What did I get chosen for? It’s cool. It’s fun to play a strong female character, natural leader, a girl who’s kind of following in her powerful father’s footsteps. It’s nice. When I read it, I was like, oh, that’s great. Unfortunately, not as typical as it should be and so it was cool to play, yes.”
Now Rolemommy wants to know more about Amy’s personal life. When asked is she had any “mom fails”‘ Amy opened up and honestly answered, “Oh, Gosh. Sometimes, I forget where I’m driving them to. That happens, right? I do just stop in the middle of the road and go, where are we going. That happens a lot.
How are we in this car, and who am I dropping off and where are we going – that happens a lot. It’s just a lot of forgetful stuff that every mother has to deal with.”
Since this fun animated film centers around one of our favorite holidays, we were curious to know if Amy had any traditions with her two young boys. When we asked her if she has made some of your own traditions, she said “I like watching movies with my kids on Thanksgiving night. That’s always a really fun thing, especially showing them a movie they’ve never seen is always really fun. Last year, we watched Willie Wonka, which was a big deal.”
So checkout Amy’s animated performance in FREE BIRDS from Relativity Media and Reel FX Animation Studios In Theaters on November 1, 2013 and to see the trailer click here http://youtu.be/r-RnGP63rpM