By Grace Rubenstein
We think of domestic violence as something that happens among adults. But as some young survivors from Contra Costa County recently told me, abuse is also alarmingly common between teen boyfriends and girlfriends.
Evidence has been growing that it starts even younger than we previously imagined. A study published in March surveyed more than 1,400 seventh graders of diverse races. More than one in three reported being psychologically abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend within the past six months. Nearly one in three reported experiencing physical dating violence within the same timeframe.
Their average age? 12.
The study was commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Blue Shield of California.
Revelations like that are slowly making the long-hidden problem of teen dating abuse more visible – especially at schools, ground zero for teen romance. Shocking events like the murder of 17-year-old Cindi Santana, stabbed by her ex-boyfriend on campus at her Los Angeles high school last September, have put the issue more on the radar. Continue reading