Former Student Addresses Dating Violence

On December 17, 2019, Mackenzie Clanagan, a former Perkiomen Valley High School student and current junior at Slippery Rock University came back to her home of Perkiomen Valley to inform students of dating violence and her traumatic experience.

Mackenzie told her story in the Perkiomen Valley High School library as the rest of the student body watched PVTV. When Mackenzie was 16, she fell in love. Then Mackenzie’s senior year came along and she noticed changes in her relationship. Her boyfriend became controlling and began telling her what to wear and who she could hang out with.  Mackenzie broke up with her boyfriend, but things turned worse. He started calling Mackenzie mean names and then attacked her while she was at a friend’s house. He stormed into the house, approached Mackenzie with a gun, beat her, and kidnapped her. Mackenzie faced brutal, breathtaking injuries such as a concussion, a broken nose and cheekbone, and partial loss of vision in her left eye.

What Makenzie experienced was dating violence, which is the threat of active violence by another. Equally disturbing was that Mackenzie’s friends left her when she needed help the most. 

An important takeaway is “to know who your true friends are,” said Allison Morello, a 11th-grade student at Perkiomen Valley.

Maya Porrecca, an 11th-grade student that attended Mackenzie’s presentation learned from Mackenzie’s experience. “You should always be alert and look out for yourself when others don’t,” Porrecca said.

After starting her own business called Zees Reflection, Mackenzie now travels to various schools and organizations to speak about her experience and make young adults aware to always let someone know if they are going through a situation like Mackenzie’s. Mackenzie’s travels recently led her to CBS News, where she interviewed during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Isabella Nave who is a junior reflected on Clanagan’s message. “Speak up no matter how trapped you may feel,” Nave said.

Mackenzie Clanagan’s life completely changed on February 25, 2016. Mackenzie shared her story at Perkiomen Valley to make students aware of the threat of dating violence. Mackenzie encouraged all of the students who had questions or needed help to connect through her blog at https://zeesreflections.wordpress.com/

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