In looking at this month’s calendar, October has a lot of nationally recognized days.
While they are all very important causes, I would like to talk about domestic violence awareness month. Historically, domestic violence was widely known to impact women and men, but we are seeing increased abuse against young women in dating situations.
According to Break the Cycle’s website, one in three teens and young adults experience some form of dating abuse. In addition, 56% of teens and young adults report experiencing abuse through digital and social media.
Violence on any level is unthinkable, but violence among youth is extremely troubling. A young woman’s childhood should be a carefree life of fun, friendships and trying new and exciting things.
As parents, educators, community activists, and interested parties, we have to help our youth. We need to explain to these young women that abuse on any level, by any one, is not ok. We need to encourage them to report abuse and to explain that healthy relationships are not hurtful, embarrassing or demeaning.
I’m not sure what the answer is to help our young women, but seeing healthy male/female relationships and building confidence and self-esteem is a start. We can no longer allow these young women to suffer in silence. While they may use makeup to cover bruises or scars, self-esteem can’t be covered up. I also think that as women, we should feel obligated to live healthy lifestyles in front of girls. When you’re healthy and whole, there are challenges and circumstances that may present themselves, but you don’t allow them to permeate your sphere of influence. I recently heard Susan L. Taylor, former Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine say, “hurt people, hurt people.” Let’s show the young girls that love doesn’t hurt.
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