MARY KAY INC. AND BREAK THE CYCLE PARTNER WITH OKLAHOMA COALITION TO END TEEN DATING VIOLENCE

Joint lobbying effort to protect one in three teenagers who will deal with abuse in a relationship

Oklahoma City, Feb. 25, 2009 – Mary Kay Inc. and non-profit partner Break the Cycle are encouraging legislation supporting teen dating violence prevention education in Oklahoma schools. Also joining the effort are the Oklahoma Coalition to End Domestic Violence and local members of the Mary Kay independent sales force who will convene at the capitol building, meet with state legislators and discuss the importance of educating middle and high school students about healthy dating and relationships. Nationally, one in three teenagers will deal with physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse in a relationship and two-thirds of them will never report it to anyone (Teen Dating Abuse Survey, TRU 2005).

The organizations are lobbying Oklahoma lawmakers to introduce preemptive legislation to educate students about domestic violence and healthy relationships. Such legislation would also require schools to implement guidelines and discipline procedures for responding to incidents of teen dating violence on campus. Only Texas and Rhode Island currently have a statewide statute with such a requirement for schools.

“Mary Kay is hopeful that we can help end teen dating violence,” said Mary Kay Inc. Vice President of Government Relations Anne Crews. “Mary Kay has an ongoing commitment to ending domestic violence and we’re encouraging legislators nationwide to pass laws supporting teen dating violence education.”

“Break the Cycle, one of the nation’s leading organizations addressing teen dating violence, is launching this national effort to pass state legislation aimed at helping youth recognize that they have the right to safe and healthy relationships,” said Break the Cycle Executive Director Marjorie Gilberg. “The education system is the best vehicle to implement teen dating violence prevention and intervention programs and the greatest way to help end teen dating violence before it starts.”

As part of this effort, Mary Kay Inc. and Break the Cycle are encouraging individuals to demonstrate support for this effort by signing an online petition at http://www.enddatingviolence.com. The petition gathers electronic signatures supporting teen dating violence prevention and awareness programs in schools nationwide.

Mary Kay first partnered with Break the Cycle to sponsor Ending Violence, Break the Cycle’s latest educational tool — an innovative, interactive DVD program developed from the organization’s evidence-based curriculum. Already expected to revolutionize dating violence prevention education, the Ending Violence interactive DVD and accompanying resource package was developed to educate youth ages 12-18 about the dynamics of dating abuse, how to build healthy relationships, and their legal rights and responsibilities. The Ending Violence DVD, available to schools in Fall 2009, also allows for total flexibility so educators can focus on the most appropriate content for students.

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About Break the Cycle
Break the Cycle believes everyone has the right to safe and healthy relationships. As the leading voice for teens on the issue of dating violence, Break the Cycle advocates for policy and legislative changes that will better protect the rights and promote the health of teens nationwide. Engaging, educating and empowering youth through prevention and intervention programs, Break the Cycle helps young people identify and build healthy relationships. For more information, please visit www.breakthecycle.org or call 310.286.3383.

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