Mark your calendar — and start a conversation: Talk to kids and parents about the signs of dating abuse, and talk to local schools about dating-violence education.
"Many people don't want to believe that domestic violence affects this age group," says Lynch, "but the statistics show how shockingly prevalent the problem is, and thankfully, our legislation got an overwhelmingly supportive response — there were tears, hugs, and smiles, and behind it all a hope that from this tragedy would come education and results." When the Rhode Island law passed in July 2007, Ann Burke says she felt a real sense of satisfaction that she and Lynch were making a difference.
Now that the initiative — spearheaded by Lynch — has gone national, she is proud to be teaching the curriculum to educators.
Such programs should be appropriate to the age, developmental level, and cultural background of students and respect the diversity of values and beliefs represented in the community.
Comprehensive school-based sexuality education complements and augments the sexuality education children receive from their families, religious and community groups, and health care professionals.
But passing the resolution is only the first step in making sure that an entire generation of girls never suffers abuse at the hands of a boyfriend or husband. To ensure that the nationwide Teen Dating Violence Education Resolution gets implemented in every middle and high school across the country, REDBOOK has joined Liz Claiborne Inc.
in its dating-abuse education campaign: MADE to Stop Teen Dating Abuse — and we'd like you to join us too.
Shortly after graduating from Rhode Island College with an education degree in 2003, Lindsay met Gerardo Martinez at a wedding.
The two began dating, and soon thereafter Ann noticed that Gerardo started acting controlling.
The decision was unanimous: In June of this year, all 50 state attorneys general passed the Teen Dating Violence Education Resolution, which calls for every American student to learn about teen dating violence and abuse each and every year from grades seven through 12.
The resolution — the first of its kind — finally acknowledges that relationship education is every bit as lifesaving as other safety courses that are taught in school, like alcohol awareness and health class.
"He called Lindsay all the time and they talked for ages," says Ann. She became angry and distant, and I had no idea why." Ann says that neither she nor her daughter had ever learned about dating violence, and when she approached Lindsay to talk, Lindsay denied that anything was wrong.