Friday, October 10, 2008

Get the Facts: Teaching Teenagers About Dating Violence

Rhode Island has just adopted a law requiring schools to teach students about dating violence in their health classes.

Texas passed a similar law last year. In both cases, the laws came about because young women were murdered by obsessive boyfriends.

I'm in favor of incorporating discussion of dating violence issues into health classes. Young women often lack the experience to recognize the warning signs of dangerous behavior in their boyfriends. Discussion of these issues will help a lot of them avoid violent relationships, and it will provide valuable resources for those already in a troubling situation.

While general discussion of the subject in co-ed classes is important, programs should also include discussion groups separated by gender. Both boys and girls will be more inclined to deal with the subject honestly in a same-sex environment. Separate discussion groups for gay and lesbian students would also provide a needed service.

The Texas Attorney General's Crime Victim Services page offers valuable information on the bill and on opportunities for victim services advocates to get involved.

Schools shouldn't wait for their legislatures to act on these laws. Violence is a public health issue -- the Centers for Disease Control study it -- and should be addressed as part of the health course in any case.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Dating Violence is defined as the perpetration or threat of an act of violence by at least one member of an unmarried couple on the other member within the context of dating or courtship. This violence encompasses all forms: sexual assault, physical violence, verbal, mental, or emotional abuse.


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