Thursday, May 18, 2006

Teen hits. Dating violence is common among U.S. teenagers, according to a new survey published by the federal Centers for Disease Control. The report is summarized in a Yahoo! Health story. According to the report, nearly 1 out of 11 high school students is subjected to physical violence from their boyfriend or girlfriend each year, the CDC found. The article notes that

In response to these findings, the CDC is launching "Choose Respect," a program to prevent dating violence and foster the early development of attitudes, behaviors and skills that help form healthy, respectful relationships.

The initiative, to be conducted in 10 cities during the summer of 2006, will be directed at adolescents between 11 and 14 years. The activities and materials will include online games, podcasts, videos, posters, and public service announcements.

Those who had experience physical dating violence, compared with their peers who had not, were 3.3 times more likely to have attempted suicide and 1.7 times more likely to have engaged in fighting during the previous year.

Having five or more alcoholic drinks or smoking on at least 1 of the previous 30 days was associated with dating violence, as was engaging in sexual intercourse during the previous 3 months.

"Adolescents need encouragement, examples, and guidance from parents, schools, and communities about how to relate to other people," Dr. Ileana Arias, director of CDC's National Center for Injury and Violence Prevention, states in a CDC press release. "Not only do such efforts reduce the number of immediate injuries, they can improve the overall health and well-being of our nation's children."

I wonder if the researchers pondered the link between dating violence and rap music. I am not a rap music fan, but like any modern parent, I am inevitably exposed to it at social events and in stores. I have noticed that "slap that bitch" and other references to male-on-female violence are common in rap music. If a kid hears that sentiment enough, he may be conciously or unconiously influenced to think hitting women is acceptable behavior.
In the mid '60s, when I was a teen, Ed Sullivan made the Rolling Stones change the lyric of their hit song "Let's Spend the Night Together" to "Let's Spend Some Time Together." He considered the sexual imagery unacceptable. How innocent that song seems now.


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