Partner violence and emotional abuse is one of those things that no one ever talks about or acknowledges. There’s so much shame surrounding the subject, and to this day, I am still surprised and confused when someone I know finds themselves in an abusive relationship. It baffles me when I find out that one of my smart, well-adjusted, and feminist-minded friends has been in an abusive relationship. Also, because emotional abuse is not visible, it’s often very hard to recognize what’s going on, and it’s harder to ask for help. All the silence surrounding these issues make it even more surprising to me that Barack Obama has issued a statement about it, and has declared February to be National Teen Dating Violence and Prevention Awareness month. In his statement, he talks about how easy it is for teenagers to find themselves in abusive relationships, and how education about this issue needs to start early on, to prevent teens from accepting unhealthy behavior early in their lives. He stresses the importance of mutual respect. He also touches on another issue that isn’t talked about as frequently, how technology is often strategically used to harass, threaten, or embarrass others. He says the circulation of intimate photos without consent has become an easy way to hurt and violate others as well. Obama tells us we all need to do our part, and provide good examples in order to ensure our children will lead safe and happy lives. It’s hard to say if this statement will actually make any major changes, but having the President talk about this issue so seriously is a big step forward. For more information, go here.
Image from here.