Dr. Gary Cuccia speaks at Shaler to spread awareness about dating violence

Dr. Gary Cuccia speaks at Shaler to spread awareness about dating violence


Dr. Gary Cuccia speaks at Shaler to spread awareness about dating violence


demi brae

photo taken from pennlive.com

Demi Brae’s story is a heart breaking one.  The young teen bled to death after being stabbed 16 times by her ex-boyfriend John Mullarky.  It has been eight years after the death of Demi, but something beautiful has come out of the heartbreak.

Demi Brae’s family decided to spread awareness about teen dating violence to prevent Demi’s story from repeating itself. Her message has spread far and wide thanks to her family.

“We have had much success and we want to continue to inspire our youth and our communities to make positive change to have safer and healthier relationships in all aspects…not just dating,” Dr. Gary Cuccia said.

The family first tried passing a law named after their daughter stating that all schools, middle through high school, would be required to teach a course on dating violence and prevention.  However, by the time the bill passed, it had become too watered down to be effective. The version that was approved and made to become a law was amended to make the teen-dating violence curriculum optional in schools beginning in grade nine.

After that attempt, Demi’s family decided to take things into their own hands.  Dr. Cuccia began to tell schools Demi’s story in the hopes of preventing future stories like Demi’s.

“I do not want Demi to just be another statistic.  I want others to know what we did not know about dating/domestic violence.  If by sharing Demi’s message it save one live…it is well worth my effort.  That one life saved could have been Demi’s, and it would make all the difference in the world,” Dr. Cuccia said.

Dr. Cuccia then created the Demi Brae Foundation designed to educate about dating violence.  He created a website in her memory to learn about domestic violence, how to help and what to do if you are in that situation.  Visit www.demibrae.com for more information.

On October 15th, they brought their story to Shaler.  Seniors and juniors gathered in the auditorium to listen to Dr. Cuccia speak.

“Before Dr. Cuccia came to Shaler, I knew dating violence was an issue, but I didn’t realize how big the problem was.  By him bringing Demi’s story to Shaler, he brought awareness to us,” senior Shayla Ngyuen said.

Besides Shaler Area, Dr. Cuccia has talked to more than 150,000 students and has done over 170 TV appearances to date.   Despite the difficulties of these assemblies for the family, Dr. Cuccia says it’s well worth it.

“Demi is missed every minute of every day.  The [Demi Brae Foundation] has been used as a healing platform for me and my family.  It is our way of honoring her.  It does consume much of our time and energy but to do nothing is not an option for us.  Demi is just too important to let that happen,” he said.

The assemblies seem to have a huge impact on students and the students in Shaler reacted well to Dr. Cuccia.

“I receive personal emails all the time from students.  They really take Demi’s message to heart.  Many have experienced dating violence, and after hearing Demi’s story they want to make positive changes in their own situation…now realizing how serious it can become,” Dr. Cuccia said.

The assembly seemed to go off without a hitch.

“I was extremely pleased with how well the assembly went. I thought Dr. Cuccia has a powerful message to send and I was thrilled with how well behaved and attentive the students were.  I hope the students learned something and share this information with any of their friends who they think might be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship and all the assembly seemed to go off without a hitch,” Mr. Kevin Mosbacher said.





More USA TODAY High School Sports