TAMPA, Fla. -- No claps. No cheers. No laughter.
Those were the crowd rules at a recent home game for the Robinson High School boys basketball team.
Silence until the home team scores nine points.
Why nine points?
“Every nine seconds in the U.S. a women is domestically abused or violated,” says Carolina Cassedy, a senior at the Tampa school who orchestrated the crowd silence.
It is a stand against domestic abuse and teen dating violence started by Katie Cassedy, Carolina’s older sister.
“Get Loud! Break the Silence” has since spread to other local high school basketball games. There are information booths, hotline access and counselors on hand.
According to a 2011 report published by the U.S. Department of Justice, 33% of U.S. teenagers suffer teen dating violence and domestic abuse.
“If we start promoting it at a young age, more kids will be able to seek and find help when they get older,” says Carolina, who will be joining her sister at Duke in the fall.
She says the eruption of triumphant noise when Robinson High scored that ninth point was “so fun, so exciting.”
But it was also meaningful.
“We no longer want people to stay silent when it comes to domestic violence,” said Carolina.
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If you or someone you know may be a victim of domestic violence, call the toll-free Statewide Domestic Violence hotline at (800) 500-1119 to connect with experts at the DV center located nearest you.
All 10 DV centers in the Tampa Bay area can be reached via the hotline.
For your own protection, the hotline number is untraceable and will not be displayed on your phone or phone bill.
Domestic violence victims can find additional resources, including the location of the nearest DV shelter at abcactionnews.com/dv.