Stop Teen Abuse Credit: Carey Hope
Put on your brave hat and coat , we are going to talk about some realities together. We can do this. We will end with hope and solutions, so hang with me!
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." ~ Lucille Ball
Good news is, I believe violence can be changed, or at the very least, lessened.
But as Lucille said, it has to be faced first.
I realized this week how much I keep stumbling across the issue of violence on a daily basis.
Three people on my prayer list right now, from different states, are all needing prayer as a result of violence against them. Not from dating violence, but from violence nonetheless.
When I had jury duty a few months ago, while waiting to be assigned to a case, I wondered if it would be for either of the two victims I personally knew whose cases were up for trial about that time. I didn't get their cases, but did sit on a jury for a case involving dating violence. I saw way too many pictures of a girl severely beaten, by the man she was in a relationship with. She lives just a few miles from my house.
It's a horrible problem in our society.
And it's an ugly topic. Not fun to write about.
But in defense and protection of us all and our kids, awareness is a must.
Just reading the news this week, trying to keep up with what's going on, I read about a new website similar to Youtube, where one of the categories of what they can post is violence. I won't even post what it is. I hope it goes away.
On it, fight after fight and attack after attack is videoed and broadcast. The onlookers simply watch and record and cheer, without ever calling anyone for help. Some are recording acts of crime as they happen, chanting the name of the website (knowing it would be posted) yet never calling the police. The callousness that is forming in society, due to tv, movies, gaming, real life examples, general lack of conscience, is alarming. And that's all we need, a new place to post things, where kids can be "famous" with their video.
Surely, we would all think, we don't personally know anyone who would do that. I don't think I do, but then I remember this happened at one of our local schools recently, but went pretty much unreported. Kids videoed a boy being beaten, instead of getting help. I don't know the details, if it was posted, but I think some got in trouble legally after. It was hushed.
Probably more common is some of the music that is very popular now which promotes violent attitudes. Some videos of top songs right now show what should be considered abusive relationships.
Rihanna we know was a victim of dating violence in the past. Its curious to me that some videos she still makes have such a dark abusive tone to them. While she's singing about finding love, much of what I see in the video looks like anything but true, real love. If our young people see this enough and get the idea that this is what love is, that it involves pain and misusing each other, do they believe it? That that kind of pain is part of life, what comes with relationship? No, it shouldn't be that way. What if they don't have a real life example of something better than what they see in media?
Another news story this week told of games that are being played at recess by elementary children that involve a callous attitude toward crime, but very probably not even understood by the kids playing it. The point is, they see or hear terms they shouldn't even have to know, enough to play this game, and that in itself is sad.
Crime is so prevalent that the danger is in becoming calloused. Or hopeless.
Let's don't be hopeless. Let's affect the parts we can affect with our kids, which is monitoring what they see and hear as much as we can. AND modeling the same standard ourselves. I believe it's ok to tell them no, certain artists or shows or games that depict certain things are not going to be allowed in our home. We can't affect what they see or hear everywhere, but we can lessen it. And have discussions on why it's not allowed.
For example, I'm not going to allow watching a music video that shows a girl being abused, or where sex is coupled with bondage or fear. Thats just my opinion, but for me, the less we take in things like that, the less calloused we become.
I don't want to be calloused, and I refuse to be hopeless. We can do things to combat this, such as what we personally allow in our homes, and also by educating ourselves and our kids.
So one purpose this month is to educate on healthy and unhealthy relationship signs.
There are some great resources from organizations on the Internet.
One is http://blog.loveisrespect.org/. This website is FULL of info, resources, quizzes, help for teens and parents, and even a text-in peer advocate line.
If you want to take the quiz to see if you are in a healthy relationship, click here: Healthy Relationship Quiz.
We'll highlight more good stuff from this website later, but I encourage you to check it out and use their awesome resources!!
Take opportunity to talk through daily things that come up in relationships that your kids see. What do you think of that? Do you think she's treating him well? Do you think he's respecting her? Would you put up with that from someone?
That way we can casually talk about healthy relationship qualities with our kids, when it's not them involved, so they aren't defensive.
Never fear, there is so much good out there, and endless HOPE.
Thank you for sticking with me as we educate ourselves together on this important issue.