Hundreds of students in Georgetown County see “Yellow Dress” portrayal about dating violence

  • Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • Updated Wednesday, March 5, 2014 8:30 am

Rounette Johnson/For The Times Denise Dean is the actress who plays the one woman monologue. Her character never got a chance to wear this pink dress to the prom because she was killed the night before her prom by domestic violence.

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South Carolina has ranked the worst in the nation when it comes to men killing women.

With domestic violence on the rise and since February is nationally recognized as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month; the Family Justice Center felt the need to educate our teenagers about domestic violence.

Wednesday morning the Family Justice Center presented a powerful and dramatic one-woman monologue at Waccamaw High School called the “Yellow Dress”.

The play from Deana’s Educational Theater tells a story about a young 16-year-old girl who is involved in a relationship that began with love, passion, and promises that ended in tragedy.

The relationship started out with such innocence.

The couple met at Burger King and her parents loved the young man named Ricky.

As time went on Ricky began verbally and physically abusing her.

When she came home from school one day her mother noticed bruises all over her daughter and forbade her to stop seeing him.

Denise Dean performs the “Yellow Dress”.

Denise changed into a beautiful pink gown behind the stage and came out and asked the audience did they like the dress.

The dress was her prom dress that she unfortunately never got a chance to wear.

She continued to pursue the audience again telling them about her relationship with Ricky and how she noticed a change in his behavior.

She also talked about the times he beat her up and each time he apologized by buying flowers or taking her out to dinner.

As she continued her performance she went back stage again and changed into a yellow and white dress that was full of blood.

“We were all killed by our partners,” said Denise.

Unfortunately she did not listen to her mother who told her not to get into the car with him.

Things got out of control and Ricky banged her head against the dash board several times and began choking her.

Her life ended at the hands of her abusive partner.

At the end of the play a panel of questions were given to the 11th and 12th graders.

Denise challenged the students with questions like: How many of you will admit that your girlfriend or boyfriend is beating you? And “What are some of the warning signs you saw?”

The play helped students identify the warning signs of abusive behaviors, and helped the students to understand the unique aspects of teen dating violence.

“We’re very excited to have a part in bringing this kind of performance to Georgetown County teens,” said Beverly Kennedy, co-executive director for the Family Justice Center.

“Dating violence is an incredibly important issue that affects people of a wide range of ages, and we hope these performances will shine a light on this issue and what is and is not okay in a relationship.”

David Hammel, Waccamaw High School principal said, “It’s exactly what my kids need to see and bring to their awareness that this is happening in our society.”

“The more we educate our young girls or guys to step out of a bad relationship.”

“She did an outstanding job keeping my students’ attention and getting that much response,” added Hamill.

Brian Milne, a senior, said the show was very informative and it will help a lot of people in the future.

“I’m just glad that I’m not going through something like that,” added Milne.

Alyssa Graham, director of guidance counseling, said, “I think this will start some dialog and maybe more kids will open up.”

Denise Dean is a social worker who travels throughout the states trying to get the message out.

She takes her vacation time to put on these performances to help educate people about the dangers of abusive relationships.

She has been performing for 14 years and says it’s her favorite job in the whole world.

“You’ve got to get the message out.”

“I’m the can opener and my hope is that this school will make the wheels turn, kids need to see this,” said Dean.

The “Yellow Dress” is produced and directed by Deana’s Educational Theater, a nonprofit based in Wakefield, Mass., that uses theater as a way of educating audiences of all ages about dating violence, bullying and promoting healthy relationships.

The Yellow Dress play was written by Deborah Lake Fortson and originally produced by Sydney Patten.

Dean also performed “The Yellow Dress” at Georgetown High, Andrews High, and Carvers Bay High School.

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