October 05, 2008
Love Is Respect

It's National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and here's a great piece of news, as Pluto gets ready to square the Plutos of the Pluto in Libra generation.

As the result of recent teen deaths by dating partners, BY LAW Texas, and as of today now Rhode Island, are required to teach domestic and dating violence awareness in all public middle and high schools, and other states may be following suit. This is great news!

Oct 5, 2008 - NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) — Ann Burke saw signs of trouble with her daughter's boyfriend.

He'd incessantly call her at night, keep her from her family, and, ultimately, physically abuse her during a tumultuous relationship that ended with her death three years ago.

Burke's 23-year-old daughter, Lindsay, may not have understood the dynamics of an abusive relationship, but her death is helping to ensure that other young people do.

A new law in Rhode Island called the Lindsay Ann Burke Act requires all public middle and high schools to teach students about dating violence in their health classes.

The initiative was spearheaded by Burke and her husband, Chris, who say schools should be obligated to teach teens the warning signs of abusive relationships and broach the subject head-on so victims feel empowered to get help and leave violent partners.

Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch, who shepherded the proposal through the legislature last year, said domestic violence is a disturbingly common crime, yet education about it is scarce and haphazard.

"You teach sex ed, you teach `don't do drugs,' you teach `don't drink,' you should also be teaching `don't be a victim of domestic violence,'" said Lynch, whose office receives about 5,000 cases a year.

The education focuses as much on nurturing good relationships as avoiding abusive ones.

In a recent sophomore health class at South Kingstown High School, teacher Karen Murphy reviewed communication skills for friendships and romantic relationships, including waiting until you're calm before confronting someone with a problem and openly expressing your feelings.

"You've just found out that somebody spread a rumor about you and you approach them at their locker," Murphy told the class. "Are you going to want to start talking to her when you're extremely angry after you've just found out about it?"

"No," the class replied in unison.

Alex Butler, a 15-year-old sophomore, said he didn't think dating violence was a problem at his school but that the education has helped him identify stages of abusive relationships.

"It's nice 'cause then you can warn other people even if you don't know them," he said.

Even if the lessons seem obvious, teachers hope students will recognize that some behaviors they may tolerate in their relationships — obsessive text messaging, for instance, or physical control — are unacceptable and possible precursors to violence.

[read full article here]

An outgrowth of this movement are some powerful and cool resources now available for young people (or anyone).

Love is Respect is a new website, run by the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline and staffed by teens who are working to help young people understand the dynamics and how to recognize the early warning signals of abusive relationships. They have a 24-hour helpline as well as chat services, in addition to various resources including a Teen Dating Bill of Rights.

Another snazzy site is Know The Red Flags, developed Texas Council on Family Violence, with funding provided by the Office of the Texas Attorney General. The site provides quizzes, video clips and tools to help young people recognize controlling behavior, and to know what to do if they think they or a friend might be affected.

Things like controlling behavior, jealousy and insults almost always get worse rather than better over time, and can lead to physical violence. Everyone deserves to feel safe, respected and equal in their relationships.

Below was the impetus for the project in Texas:

In March 2006, Liz Claiborne Inc. commissioned a survey to delve deeper into the issue of teen dating abuse, gauging the degree to which teens have been involved in abusive/controlling relationships and to understand youth perceptions regarding what is and is not acceptable behavior in a relationship.

The findings were astounding. The results show that alarming numbers of teens experience and accept abusive behavior in dating relationships. Many teens also feel physically and sexually threatened.

1 in 5 teens who have been in a serious relationship report being hit, slapped or pushed by a partner.

1 in 3 girls who have been in a serious relationship say they've been concerned about being physically hurt by their partner.

1 in 4 teens who have been in a serious relationship say their boyfriend or girlfriend has tried to prevent them from spending time with friends or family; the same number have been pressured to only spend time with their partner.

1 in 3 girls between the ages of 16 and 18 say sex is expected for people their age if they're in a relationship; half of teen girls who have experienced sexual pressure report they are afraid the relationship would break up if they did not give in.

Nearly 1 in 4 girls who have been in a relationship (23%) reported going further sexually than they wanted as a result of pressure.

Statewide surveys of 16 to 24-year-old Texans also show:

75 percent either have personally experienced dating violence or know someone who has.

50 percent have personally experienced dating violence.

60 percent of females, and 40 percent of males, have personally experienced dating violence, either as victims or abusers.

49 percent of females, and 33 percent of males, have experienced verbal abuse.

33 percent of females, and 22 percent of males, have experienced physical violence.

33 percent of females, and 6 percent of males, have experienced sexual violence.

This is what I call a very good use of the law, to help build love and relationship skills that will genuinely and functionally sustain life. (Capricorn to Libra)

Power on, people!

Vinessa • 11:53 PM •

© 2005 • Powered by Movable Type 3.16 • Site by Moxie