Three years ago, the dating violence mock trial was presented to Dripping Springs. It was introduced to raise awareness about the dangers of dating violence.
Senior Insiya Aziz has been a part of this program since the beginning.
“My first year I heard about it really last minute, but when I went there I really loved the whole idea of trying a real case in court. All the students could see the affects of dating violence when it actually becomes an issue of legality,” Aziz said. “My second year, I became vice-president of the board and I helped plan it and I really got involved. I was an attorney that year and I really loved looking at the case. I really liked examining the facts and then seeing how they supported or negated my argument. I really enjoyed the experience, so that is why I am doing it again. This year I’m president of the board, so I’m running the whole thing.”
Aziz says that the trial helps make people aware of dating violence in different means.
“I think one of the biggest messages we are trying to convey is that dating violence is something more common than you would think,” Aziz said. “It’s something that we all see, not just physically, but also through different means, like texting or social media. That’s something we try to emphasize through the case, by making sure that the evidence reflects that. Though a lot of it was just kind of reaching out to teens, so that they realize that they are not immune from it, so that when they see their friend or themselves in such a relationship, they have a way out and they have reason to believe and reason to understand what’s going on with them.”
Senior Daniela Watkins also believes that the mock trial is reaching its goal of awareness.
“Well I think that this is a really good awareness activity for the school,” Watkins said. “It really makes them realize the situations that these kind of people are in and how it looks from both sides.”
From this program, the FLY campaign was born.
“FLY stands for ‘First Love Yourself’, and the important part of the campaign is that it’s all about self compassion, not just about dating violence,” Aziz said. “We all know that we suffer from self-compassion issues on a daily basis, for example, with suicide and different things like that, so conveying that message overall is really important.”
Through this program, Aziz was able to find her calling.
“One of the things I learned over this was that I really loved law, which was one of the factors that propelled me to choose law as my career,” Aziz said. “Dating violence is something that we have to be able to see in our own society, something that’s not just an abstract concept that happens to other people, because it happens more frequently than you would think.”
One of the positive things that arise from the program is the impact it has on the school.
“It has a very positive impact within the Dripping Springs area and it is really making people aware of the signs of domestic abuse and how to handle it,” Watkins said.”
“I think we are causing a positive impact because we always have a lot of students that love to participate. Last year we had almost 200 students and this year we had to cut it off at 100,” Aziz said. “It really is a great thing we are doing because even though students just may be doing it for school, they still learn from this experience by listening to the trial, listening to what is going on and its something that even if they don’t want to hear it, they have to hear it. Even students that just hear about the mock trial around school are like ‘Oh what is that?’ and try to figure out more about it.”
These seniors believe that that this program will continue to raise awareness in the future.
“In all I was really excited this program grew so much as I’ve been president and vice-president of it. I’m really excited to see where it goes beyond this and how it grows,” Aziz said. “This is one of the only schools that does this type of program and we have potential to make it bigger and better and make it something that actually creates a big movement.”
“I am happy that we are making a difference and that we are making people aware of these things,” Watkins said. “Hopefully we can impact someone’s life through this.”