Centro’s Healthy Relationships program is funded by the Utah Department of Health and seeks to prevent rape and sexual violence among the state’s Latino population. It addresses the sexual violence risk factors and cultural idiosyncrasies of this demographic and recognizes parental involvement as a preventive measure.
According to the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey data of 9th – 12th graders across the United States, Hispanic teens have higher rates of dating violence than their white peers. During the 12 months preceding the survey 11.5 percent of Hispanic teens had been subjected to dating violence versus 8 percent of Caucasian teens. Hispanic youth also have higher rates of forced sexual intercourse than white students.
Centro’s Healthy Relationships program serves youth ages 10 to 16. It focuses on educating students about sexuality, gender roles, healthy relationships, and improving family communication. Hispanic teens surveyed for the Voices Heard report of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy indicated that they place a higher value on advice about sexuality from their parents than from their friends.
Centro's program offers workshops on the teenage dating scene and the signs of abuse in a relationship to parents. It also addresses the cultural factors that may foster domestic violence and capitalizes on their potential strength to dissipate violence. For example, a macho in its positive connotation is a man who takes care of his family (would not hurt them). The program incorporates lessons on the media and the messages it sends regarding sexuality and gender.