Students Advocate for Passage of Sierra’s Law
Columbia , S.C. (WOLO) — Students at Ridgeview High School are advocating for teenage victims of domestic violence by trying to raise awareness about a bill that would give legal rights and protection to teenagers in abusive relationships.
“Teens deserve protection and not abuse,” said student Lynnise Brown.
Brown and several of her classmates in the scholars academy are aiming to make a change to protect teenagers caught in abusive dating relationships.
“It makes a teenager feel trapped and they have no where to go,” said student Madeline Hahn.
To change that, the students are advocating for the passage of a bill called ‘Sierra’s Law,” named after Sierra Landry, an 18 year old who was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 2013.
“Violence should never be accepted it should never be accepted as a normality,” said student Micayla Hayden.
Sierra’s law allows teenagers 16 and older to get an order of protection and implements dating violence education programs in South Carolina schools with the intent of bringing to light the signs of abuse.
“When they don’t know the signs they’ll just think it’s physical, it goes beyond that, emotional and mental damage to them and they’ll know the signs, this is not healthy and we need to get out of this,” explained Brown.
South Carolina is currently ranked second in the nation for the number of women killed by men. Last year, lawmakers passed major domestic violence reform and Representative Mia McLeod says similar action needs to be taken to help young victims and end the vicious cycle of domestic violence.
“We need to tighten the law and make sure no one is excluded from it, teens especially because it is happening so much more,” said Representative McLeod.