Teenagers. Dating. Holding hands.
Murdering the objects of their affections …
A 20 year old man was convicted of stabbing and dismembering his girlfriend’s body in Indianapolis.
In Texas, a 15 year old girl was stabbed to death at school and an 18 year old girl was shot and killed there.
And these are not just rare, isolated cases.
As a result, communities are trying to raise awareness, among kids, their parents and their teachers, of the behaviors that should raise red flags.
Texas passed a law that defines dating violence within the school safety codes.
Rhode Island passed a law that mandates teaching seventh-graders through twelfth-graders about dating abuse.
New York recently made restraining orders available for the first time to teenagers who are victims of dating violence. Before this, victims’ only remedy was to press criminal charges.
Indianapolis is training police officers in schools to recognize warning signs of dating abuse, and older kids to act as dating mentors and advisors to younger kids.
According to surveys, dating violence has risen by about 40% since just 1999, and may victimize 10% of teens.
Experts believe that cell phones and the internet have facilitated harassing behaviors. Another survey suggests that twenty-five percent of teens have been harassed by a date.
Yet another survey suggests that one-third of teens have been victims of emotional abuse by a dating partner, if not physical abuse.
Dating abuse is also believed to spur drinking, suicides, aggression and sexual activity in teenagers.
And even among teens, dating violence and abuse is about exerting power and control in the relationship.
Talk to your kids about their dating habits and …