This blog began because I was watching one of my favorite reality shows, Downsized. It is about a family who have fallen on difficult economic times and what they are doing to recover. This is a blended family of nine people. The couple are raising 5 children from her first marriage and 2 from his. The children range from ages 11-18--with a set of triplets in the middle.
On this episode which aired 10/11/11, the 17 year old girl begins dating a new boyfriend. Her 15 year old brother doesn't like the boy because of his reputation at school, but the sister blows off his warnings. Toward the end of the show the 16 year old step-brother reports that something is wrong with the girl. The mother investigates and finds that the girl has been hit multiple times by the boyfriend and has bruises all over her body. The show ended as her parents were beginning to intervene. I can hardly wait until next week to see how they handle it.
I determined to write this blog on dating violence toward young women, but my research showed that it is prevalent in young men also. Several surveys have been done on teens and the percentage of teens reporting dating violence ranges from 15-60%. If you have a teenager whose behavior has changed after beginning new relationship, don't ignore it. Get involved and find out what is going on. Dating violence becomes domestic violence after marriage. Less than 1% of domestic violence is reported to police. If you choose to ignore the signs of abuse toward your teenager, you are running the risk that your 'child' will be abused for years and never tell anyone.
I have included some links with vital information to help you recognize the signs. Please take time to read them.