Preventing Dating Violence

“Hiding the bruises and the hurt Paul inflicts on her is harder than getting straight A’s. But Paul’s happiness soon becomes more important to Johanna than her own. More important than her relationship with her parents and friends. More important than her grades, her safety, and her future.”-Things Change by Patrick Jones (Walker & Company, 2004)

Sound like anyone you may know?

At the beginning of this month was National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week which is an effort to “bring more public awareness to a problem confronting today’s teens”.’  A recent entry on YPulse, Hip Hop Can Prevent Domestic Violence, pointed out in regards to pop star Rihanna and teenager Chris Brown, that “it sometimes seems to take an entertainment/gossip headline to make people think critically about serious issues.”

Perhaps this is an opportunity for libraries to work with youth on creating a piece such as a song or video about teen dating violence, discuss lyrics, celebrate healthy relationships, or display resources regarding this topic.

According to the Family Violence and Prevention Fund, “Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner-a figure that far exceeds victimization rates.” (2008)

It’s hard for me not to tune into the radio or not to hear on the news how some teens are reported to have reacted to the news stories about them in terms of feeling Rihanna got what she deserved.

I believe there are a lot libraries and teens offering programs and services that celebrate positive relationships and are building positive developmental assets with teens. Please share your stories.

In the meantime, check out the resources linked in this post. These posts I made in 2006 and 2007 about teen dating violence still has relevant resources as well. And as Linda Braun pointed out in the comments from an earlier post, violence happens offline and online. No matter what form it takes or where it happens, it’s not right’  (it’s never right) and it’s an opportunity to help parents/caregivers and teens find resources.

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.
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