For the next few hours, I'll be blogging live from Liz Claiborne headquarters as a part of national It's Time to Talk Day, a national day of dialogue and awareness on domestic violence and teen dating abuse. I'm one of a team of bloggers who will be blogging about the need for parents to become educated on these issues.
AneesaMichelle.org Maritza Rivea her aunt spoke out about the violence that killed her young niece. "The signs were there." Controlling ways, choking..it all came out in her journal. He threatened to commit suicide if she broke up with him. "She kept it hidden very well"--she saw more of the emotional abuse. "I didn't know it existed with teen dating. Maritza (Aneesa's legal guardian) sought counseling and saw improvement. The help wasn't enough. Aneesa was 17 when she was shot by her boyfriend. Maritza's number one message, "Be aware of what your kids are doing...be in their business." The website has a list of warning signs here.
Penny Santana ADA Bronx District shares her take on the plague of domestic violence. Stress that abusive behavior is controlled behavior. A decision to engage in this behavior. Most people who are abusive only abuse one person. To help women:
Sanctuary for Families
Women don't leave for so many reasons. 300-350 cases come in to her in the Bronx District EACH MONTH. "90% of the cases we see are male abusers," says Santana. Most women do not want to cooperate with law enforcement. To escape an abusive relationship the first step is to get to a safe place. "A picture is worth a thousand words," take photographs. Voice mail messages can help. I've been doing domestic violence cases for six years, I'm here to educate. The more teh issue is talked about the more people will pay attention," says Penny. This is a community problem.
Shaina 23 is a survivor an grew up in NJ. TEAR Teens Experiencing Abusive Relationship (TeensAgainstAbuse.org). When she was in high school abuse was rampant. Provides educational information about teen dating violence. She gives these tips:
- Learning about technological abuse--keep tabs on it. 100's of text messages a day. Threats over the computer. Pay attention to phone bills and computer usage.
- Be wary of isolation. Are your kids losing their friends or dropping out of activities?
Shaina advises opening the lines of communication early. "It's very dangerous and scary to see a kid get cut off," says Shaina. Shaina goes into schools to educate and will take on groups in sizes from 3 to 1000 and she's written a curriculum that is available on her websites. Call 1800-799-SAFE for more organizations in your area.
Logan Levkoff, author, mom and sexuality education (Logan and Nicole picture is from Liz Even 12/3) for more on Logan the Babble interview and a great friend and teen expert . We don't focus on emotional health. Give them the tools to make great choices. Start the conversations from when they are born. Talking about sexuality doesn't mean talking about sex..own your own voice have self esteem confidence and pride...train them to make smart decisions."
I asked Logan the magic age when it is safe to start dating. "Age isn't really a determinant about good decision making" says Logan. Give them guidelines..ask them where they think this is going to go. @LoganLevkoff tweet her your questions and pick up her book Third Base Ain't What is Used to Be for clear advice on how to start conversations with your kids about sex.
"There is no face of what it means to be a victim or survivor or perpetrator," says Logan. She says her job as teaching girls to avoid getting into these situations. Planned Parenthood's teenwire, tells stories in the language of teens. "Own the embarrassment," says Logan when you talk to teens, "It's my job and I love you."Rihanna-Chris Brown is a horrible situation, but a gift from a parenting situation. A third party situation opens the door in a much safer way for teens.
Nancy Lublin CEO of DoSomething.organd Chief Old Person was one of the first groups to respond to the Chris Brown Rihanna incident. Started a campaign to highlight the 1 in 3 relationships. They turn kids into activists, 3000 told their own abuse story.
Everyone is surprised to find themselves in this situation, says Nancy. We don't teach kids how to react to situations.You can take action (in fact here are 59 steps to take)! You don' have to be Bill Gates or Bono to make a difference.
For more information on starting the dialog in your family visit Itstimetotalk.org and feel free to tweet me @Momtrends questions or email me and I will try to get you answers and re
"We are teaching our girls to be strong, but I am far more concerned about raising a feminist son...boys who would celebrate strong girls," says Nancy. Follow Nancy and her team @dosomething.
I received a $50 Juicy Couture gift card in conjunction with participating in Liz Claiborne'??s '??It'??s Time To Talk'? day.