This morning NPR reported on this underdiscussed topic and found that "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about 1 in 10 adolescents reports an experience with physical violence from a dating partner. If other forms of abusive violence are included — from being threatened or emotionally harassed, to name-calling and insults — that number goes way up." Yeah, way up, to 1 in 4.
The good news is that, as parents, we have a say in what our kids learn about relationships. We can help them identify healthy partnerships. We can instill in them a respect for themselves and others. We can help them learn what to expect in their relationships--and what is just plain unacceptable.
It isn't easy. Not in a culture that glorifies violence and sexualizes girls from an absurdly young age. (Really, why would my preschooler need a leopard print cami and panty set?) It is almost like establishing an underground, counter-culture, one that glorifies respect, not abuse.
But it can and must be done. And it has to be we parents that make it happen. If not us, then who?
There are some terrific resources available online to help you get educated and get the conversation started. My favorite is MADE--Moms and Dads for Education to Stop Teen Dating Abuse. (You've heard about MADE here previously.) They've got the bad news--the statistics--and the good news--what's being done to stop the cycle of abuse and how you can get involved.
Enough is enough, isn't it?