Monday, March 2, 2009

Our Small Window of Opportunity

This ABC News report is one of many media stories attempting to dissect the very public relationship between Chris Brown and Rihanna:
While I have issues with the psychologist interviewed in the beginning of the tape and "Battered Women's Syndrome" as a diagnosis, that is fodder for another post. This was one of the better media presentations of the story. With this very public battering, victim-blaming and criticism are running rampant throughout the blogosphere. It is disheartening to realize how little progress we have made in raising awareness over the years. Maybe it is cyclical, I'm not sure. I personally am seeing more and more young people who are subject to attitudes and actions that I had hoped were diminishing as we became enlightened as a society.
We, as advocates, know statistics show a battered woman will leave her abuser an average of eight times before walking out for good.Those of us who work closely with victims understand the cycle of violence and are prepared to see the same woman repeatedly, working to empower her a little more each time. Hopefully this young woman will realize that life is too short to be treated like that, before she is hurt more seriously. Victims of violence are not defendants . Many women return, for many reasons -wanting to believe the abuser will change, that it will get better, focusing on the good they see in him. They recant and insist the charges be dropped. Hopefully there is someone in her life that will leave the door open to her when she needs help again...and she will.

Rather than questioning or attempting to analyse her behavior, the focus should be on his.

The Chicago Tribune interviewed teens about the Rihanna and Chris Brown incident and found that many of them, including many of the girls, blamed Rihanna for what went down, and also acted as if violence in teen relationships is normal and acceptable.

While morbid curiosity hones the general public's focus on the issue, advocates need to seize this newest flash-in-the-pan opportunity to educate young people. There are many models and curriculums available for in-school programs regarding dating violence. It may be time to dust them off and renew our efforts in empowering young women and keeping them safe.

Michigan DHS Dating Violence Educational Curriculum

1 comment:

  1. The February 2009 issues of the Prevention Researcher is dedicated to
    "Preventing Adolescent Dating Violence" The Prevention Researcher,
    Volume 16, Number 1, 2009, Item# 161 Adolescent_Dating_Violence


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