AHS alum speaks to students about dating abuse

News Photo by Julie Goldberg Emily Hansen presents to students at Alpena High School on Wednesday. She talked to the students about dating abuse, healthy relationships and consent.

ALPENA — Alpena High School students learned about dating abuse, healthy relationships and consent from Emily Hansen, a graduate of AHS and current University of Michigan student, on Wednesday.

“It covered six different types of abuse, what consent looks like in healthy relationships,” Hansen said.

This is the second straight year Hansen has spoke to health classes at the school. She said it’s a very important topic to talk to the students about that there’s not a lot of education on, especially in rural areas like Alpena.

“It’s such a prevalent issue and with one in three adolescents being a victim of some kind of relationship abuse and there’s no education on this. So I’m striving towards giving education that can be impactful to teens,” Hansen said. “I want to be the person that gives it because there’s not another person.”

Hansen encouraged students to participate and answer the questions she asked. She said the students have given her good feedback about her presentation.

“I have worried, especially the first time doing it, that they wouldn’t be very inclined to listen to this presentation or think it impacts them, but the feedback I get is normally really positive,” Hansen said. “I’ve had students come up to me and thank me for coming. I’ve had students share their own personal stories with me and why it’s important to them and they agree that this is an education they’re not getting and it’s important.”

Hansen is currently working on her bachelor’s degree at U of M in biopsychology, neuroscience, logistics and German, with the plan of going to graduate school and studying speech pathology. She hopes to continue working on spreading the word about dating abuse and healthy relationships through programs that she’s involved in.

“I’m working on applying for a grant to further this education and get the money to improve the tools I use and reach more people,” Hansen said. “I hopefully one day am going to start a nonprofit or something to continue this education.”

Hansen had each student fill out a survey. She said she wanted the students feedback about her presentation to possibly help her receive the grant she wants to get.

“I want to make sure that I’m getting the most impact that I can,” she said.

Julie Goldberg can be reached via email at jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.