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Teen Dating Violence

25 February, 2009

Many teens blame Rihanna, say dating violence normal    HERE

This headline bothered me when I first read it on the 20th and it kept coming back to haunt me.   It boggles the mind.

Read these two quotes from the story – the first is from a boy, the second a girl.

“Ha! She probably did something to provoke it.”
“People said, ‘I would have punched her around too,’ ” Matanmi said. “And these were girls!”

Teenagers willing to justify abuse, not only excusing it but thinking that it is a normal part of dating.!  At first I thought it was an anomaly, the statistics applicable only to Illinois,  but it isn’t.

Their acceptance, or even approval, of abuse in romantic relationships is not a universal reaction. But it comes at a time when 1 in 10 teenagers has suffered such abuse and females ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rates of any age group, research shows.(emphasis mine)

Young girls, 16-24, suffer from abusive relationships at the highest rate of any age group; yet our discussions of abuse rarely focus on them.

…some schools and youth organizations have started educating teens about the dangers of dating violence. Rhode Island and Virginia have adopted laws requiring such instruction in the public schools…But most states, including Illinois, don’t have such a mandate.

As I searched the net, I discovered that a third state, Nebraska, has introduced legislation this month (HERE) requiring

…the State Department of Education to develop a model dating violence policy on or before March 1, 2010, that would assist school districts in developing policies for dating violence reporting and response. Then, by July 1, 2010, the state’s school districts would be required to develop a policy to address incidents of dating violence involving students at school. The districts would be required to provide training to all faculty working with students in grades 6-12. And schools would be required to incorporate dating violence education into their health curriculums.

Good for Nebraska, now other states need to follow suit.

As Patrick C. Lynch, Attorney General of Rhode Island, says we have sex education and drug and alcohol education but little is said about teen dating abuse. He was part of the effort to legislate changes in the curriculum in Rhode Island schools to include teen dating and domestic violence. Mr. Lynch is currently president of the National Association of Attorneys General, which has become a strong advocate for education in school districts across the country. He is to be commended for his dedication to finding ways to help young girls and their families recognize and avoiding the horrors of these crimes. Mr. Lynch proposes three tactics to deal with the problem:  applying the law, changing the legislation, outreach and assistance. But he needs the help of every woman who cares about violence against females.  These are girls and young women in the United States who are brutalized and murdered by their boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, and husbands.

Teenagers  accepting abuse as a normal part of dating  set a pattern for the rest of their lives, unless someone can help break the cycle.

Here is Mr. Lynch, in 2007; the video is long but definitely worthwhile.  At least, listen to the statistics at the beginning of the presentation and, if you can bear it, listen to the parents of a young woman who was brutally murdered by her ex-boyfriend.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “NAAG | Teen Dating Violence”, posted with vodpod

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