Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Do you recognize these women? They are Rihanna, R&B Pop Star, Robin Givens, Actress, and Bria McDonald, Former Ms. Black Arizona 1990.
We were all stunned by the startling images of superstar Rihanna after her violent confrontation with boyfriend Chris Brown. In the new media that followed, we were reminded of the turbulent times between Robin Givens and Mike Tyson. It remindes us all of an unresolved issue in this country, Domestic Violence. There are millions of women, like Dr. Bria McDonald, who have frightening stories that are never shared. Abuse can cause injury and even death, but it does not have to be physical. It can include verbal and emotional abuse - constant insults, isolation from friends and family, name calling, controlling what someone wears - and it can also include sexual abuse. It can happen to anyone, at any age, regardless of race, religion, level of education, or economic background.
This violent trend also occurs when dating and is growing at a rapid rate, especially among teens. While parents may still be in denial, the data indicates that teenagers often experience violence in dating relationships. Statistics show that one in three teenagers has experienced violence in a dating relationship. In dating violence, one partner tries to maintain power and control over the other through abuse. Dating violence crosses all racial, economic and social lines. Most victims are young women, who are also at greater risk for serious injury. Young women need a dating safety plan. We believe that teenagers can choose better relationships when they learn to identify the early warning signs of an abusive relationship, understand that they have choices, and believe they are valuable people who deserve to be treated with respect. Let's join forces to break the silence and start a national campaign to start "must have" conversations about ending Dating Violence in America.