I was in the car with my 10 year old daughter listening to a segment on a morning radio show in which a listener asks the host for advice. In this particular letter the listener was a young lady who was in an abusive relationship, had been taken advantage of as a pre-teen.
I took it as an opportunity to discuss a few things with my daughter; first & most importantly she will NOT be dating anyone at age 12 (as had the young lady who wrote the letter). Secondly, if she ever, at any age, found herself in a position where a man was hurting her physically then she was immediately to tell someone. Perhaps the subject matter was a little strong for a 10 year old, perhaps not. I need her to know that there is no reason to ever be physically abused by someone. I needed her to know today and forever that that is the case.
As a person who was in a violent relationship it is especially important to me that women and girls understand that there is no normalcy, no rationalizing and no expectation that they be understanding or patient in these situations. Make a plan and GET OUT.
Things I didn’t discuss with my daughter but need some attention:
- Why is a 12 year old allowed to be alone with a high school boy?
- How do you have 4 children before age 23?
- What kind of people allow a 27 year old man to date a 12 year old? I don’t care how young he looked and how old she looked, somebody knew how old they actually were and should have said something!
- As a community, how can we make it clear what is acceptable to us, for our children. It seems that shame is non-existent these days
I’m very interested to hear your thoughts on this topic; how you have addressed or plan to address the issues brought forth.
RAINN Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network
Love Is Respect – National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline