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Saturday, 18 October 2008



Is your teen involved in an abusive relationship? Have you talked to your teen about domestic violence? I talked to my daughter during her teen years because I never wanted to make the assumption that she would never allow herself to be abused.

Violence among our youth is real. They're violent on the streets, in the schools, and in their relationships. An article caught my eye several days ago, which validates this fact. Rhode Island is requiring public middle and high schools to add dating violence as a part of their health class.


The Lindsay Ann Burke Act, pictured, is behind this mandate. Lindsay Burke was 23 when she was killed at the hands of her abusive boyfriend. He cut her throat and left her to die. Her mother stated that she saw trouble in her daughter's relationship. Her boyfriend was very controlling. Unfortunately, many women young and old don't recognize they are being abused.

Lindsay's mother stated that education in the school would have helped her daughter recognize that her relationship was dangerous. Schools teach students to not do drugs, drink or have unprotected sex; however, domestic violence is not taught.

Reading this article reminded me of my daughter's teenage dating years. She had been visiting her boyfriend whom I disliked, but I couldn't figure out why. There was something about him that unnerved me. I had mentioned this fact to my daughter again and again. She thought that I was being an over protective mother and no one would ever be good enough for her at least by my standards.

We were having one of our mother daughter talks one night, and she stated that she was asked by her boyfriend's mother if he had ever hit her. I froze. I felt ill, dizzy as if I was having an out of body experience. Somehow I managed to repeat what she had said to ensure that I had heard her correctly. I had. She had just validated my thoughts of him, I knew than my instincts about him were right.

I explained to my daughter that she needed to end that relationship and end it immediately. No mother would ask that question of her son unless she knew that he was capable. I could see the wheels turning in her head. Mind you she was 16 at the time. I further explained that I had 7 brothers and my mother, her grandmother, would never ask that question about any of her 7 sons. Something was wrong!

I prayed that she would end the relationship. I continued to ask questions and remain as close to the situation as I could without pushing her away from me. I talked about books that I had read about abusive relationships. Two came to mind, The Burning Bed and Shattered Dreams. At that time there was no internet access, so my knowledge of domestic violence was limited and so were domestic violence resources.

I had previously confided in a friend about my feelings toward my daughter's boyfriend. She too believed that I was over reacting. On the surface he was well mannered, a high school track and basket ball star, and handsome. He was a teenage girl's dream. After I discussed my conversation with my daughter with my friend, only than did she take my instincts seriously. Ladies please don't assume that your daughters will remove themselves from abusive situations. If you have teen daughters, educate yourself and if you see signs help them take action. Abuse knows no boundries.

Thankfully my daughter left for college, out of state, shortly thereafter and the relationship faded. She is now married to a wonderful young man who adores her. Lindsey Burke was not as fortunate. I believe teaching domestic violence in our schools is a great idea. Let me know your thoughts.

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