Lucille Ball Said It All
"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced." ~ Lucille Ball
Good news is, I believe change can be made.
But as Lucille said, it has to be faced first.
February is National Dating Violence Awareness Month.
And it's an ugly topic. Not fun to write about. Why do I do it anyway?
Because the first time I brought this topic up with girls, not even thinking they needed it, not even knowing for a fact that it was an issue in their world, two girls told me afterwards they had relationships they needed to get out of, before things got worse. I was floored. And each year since, I know of at least one more similar story, just from my little world. That's why this is a must every year. There are signs before anything ever gets physical. Do you know what they are?
Awareness is a must. Education works.
A very good definition of what dating violence is, comes from an Oklahoma government website. "Dating violence is the use of harassing, controlling, and/or abusive behavior to maintain power and control over a partner in a romantic relationship. It can take the form of emotional/verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, stalking, or a combination of abusive behaviors. Anyone can be a victim of dating violence regardless of age, race, or gender. Teens are particularly vulnerable to dating violence due to their young age and inexperience with romantic relationships."
In my state, the statistics are much higher than the national average according to this news story and statistics from the YMCA, Oklahoma Ranks High on Dating Violence. Three times the national average for Oklahoma high school freshmen! Not good.
So one purpose this month is to educate on healthy and unhealthy relationship signs.
There are some great resources from organizations on the Internet. Please check out www.loveisrespect.org, www.stayteen.org, www.dvis.org,
Discussion Starters: 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.