Miss West Virginia delivers a message on online VAW

19:05 Apr 8 2015 Princeton, NJ, USA

Miss West Virginia, Paige Madden, delivered a message to a social media-savvy crowd of students who are exposed to the possibility of dating violence in emotional, cyber and physical ways.

“I was in college, moving into my dorm when a guy came up to me and said: ‘I love your hair,’” she said. “I didn’t think anything abut it, but then, I started getting a lot of messages on Tumblr. After that, I started having this shadow following me to my classes. We’re talking about more than cyber stalking.

“Right now, in high school, it’s not always fun,” she said as the students appeared to be riveted on every word. “It’s going to get a lot harder. If you’re letting someone else tell you who you can or can’t date or what to do, you’re not really in control of your life,” she said, and added: “Your safety is more important than your Facebook account.”

Madden, 21, a native of Moundsville, is a journalism student at West Virginia University, but she took the year off to serve as Miss West Virginia. She tried working as a journalist for a short time, but decided that career path might not be to her liking. She said that she is considering using her Miss West Virginia scholarship money to attend graduate school and possibly go into education.

“Sexting,” she said. “I know it happens. You probably thought it was cute when you were in sixth grade. As soon as you put something into the digital world, you just relinquished your privacy,” she said. “You’ve got to think about that stuff. Are you comfortable not having control of your life?”
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