Since 2008, Kaity’s Way, a 501(c)(3) approved nonprofit corporation, has played a significant role increasing public awareness on teen dating violence and in promoting healthy relationships. To ensure reduction of violence against Arizona’s children, Kaity’s Way promotes P.E.A.C.E. (Patience, Empathy, Acceptance, Caring, Equality) while educating the community and causing societal shifts in thinking and behaving. As a result of our unique perspective, the demand for the Kaity’s Way P.E.A.C.E. program has increased exponentially.
In the 2010, National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control, 22.4 percent of women and 15 percent of men who experience rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner first experienced some form of partner violence between the ages of 11 and 17. In a survey conducted by Kaity’s Way from 2011-12 in which more than 4000 students ages 13 to 18 were surveyed, 47 percent reported knowledge of a peer in a violent teen dating relationship. A more recent study by the American Psychological Association in 2013, found 41 percent of adolescent females and 37 percent of adolescent males report being a victim in an abusive relationship. In addition, 35 percent of female and 29 percent of males report being a perpetrator in a relationship.
Kaity’s Way exists because Ric and Bobbi Sudberry, co-founders of Kaity’s Way, are the grieving parents of one of such statistic; they have made a commitment to change the culture of a generation by guiding youth in creating healthy, respectful relationships free from violence. It is their sincere hope that the healthy skills learned in early dating relationships guided by the P.E.A.C.E. program will result in healthy adult relationships free from Domestic Violence. In order to achieve this, Kaity’s Way uses Kaity’s Story and the P.E.A.C.E. platform developed by Kaity’s Way, to provide prevention and intervention education related to teen dating violence to school and community groups.
On a personal level, Bobbi Sudberry and Kaity (in spirit) played a significant role in the passage of Kaity’s Law enacted on Sept 30, 2009. It provides those in dating relationships (romantic or sexual in nature) the same protection under the law as those who are married, live with someone, blood related, have a child in common, or are pregnant under the Arizona Domestic Violence statutes 13-3601.
A typical comprehensive presentation begins with Kaity’s Story; a compelling fact based account of Kaity Sudberry’s first dating relationship that had become very unhealthy and unfortunately ended with the loss of two young lives. After the story the pattern of abuse and the warning signs are reviewed as they pertain to the story. We also discuss how bystanders, family and friends can help as well as what a victim or abuser can do to help themselves. We offer considerations to safely exit an abusive relationship, which leads into an explanation of Kaity’s Law. The presentation is concluded with itemizing the elements of a healthy relationship as described in our P.E.A.C.E. Rights & Responsibilities document, created and distributed by Kaity’s Way. Upon request we will also return at a later time or date to debrief the audience and/or perform an exercise of role playing to further the understanding of the importance of healthy relationships. We also provide a Kaity’s Way P.E.A.C.E. bracelet which serves as a reminder of Kaity’s Story and the elements of a healthy relationship. We also leave behind literature for future reference and teaching moments.
In addition, Kaity’s Way hosts monthly workshops around the valley, open to the general public and sets up resource tables at various events to distribute literature and cultivate public awareness. Frequently, we conduct breakout sessions at local and national conferences, maintain a useful and concise website www.kaitysway.org, and utilize social media venues such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ to assist in promoting healthy relationships. We also update the community on our program, tools, and calls to action.
Kaity’s Way accepts and appreciates every opportunity to collaborate with partners. We are very flexible and make our program as available as possible.