Dating violence is becoming more and more common. Possessive boyfriends that become jealous, demanding, isolate young teen girls and then finally become violent with them are not usual even on school grounds. Sometimes dating violence has fatal consequences that can end a young life and leave her family in ruins.
Just two states mandate teaching kids about dating violence in schools. Texas mandates awareness education on dating violence, although the specific education requirements are not specified. Other states say they encourage this education, although it is not required. But Rhode Island is progressive on the issue. It recently passed a law that requires that the topic of dating violence be taught in schools every year for students in seventh through 12th grade. The education will be part of the health curriculum.
The new measure is called Lindsay Ann Burke Act, after a young woman who lost her life as a result of dating violence. The hope is that the education will be able to help students identify the early stages of an abusive relationship and teach them how to say safe.
What are some of the possible signs of dating violence that you can look for as a parent? Dating violence can be hard to spot, especially by the teenagers themselves, who may not have experience in healthy dating relationships. A boyfriend (or girlfriend–while I refer to this happening to girls, because most of the time it does, that is not to say that boys can not be victims of dating violence) who is overly controlling, is a sure sign. Many abusers tend to isolate their victims away from friends and family. If the boyfriend is constantly calling, texting and wanting to know where she is at all times, it can be a big sign that there is something wrong.
You should work with your teenager to develop a dating safety plan, such as to double date, to let a parent or friend know where she will be and what time she will be home, to stay away from alcohol, to assert herself when necessary and to trust her instincts.
According to the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three teenagers has experienced violence in a dating relationship! One in three.
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