October 10, 2008

DV Awareness~ Lindsay Ann Burke Act

From the Associated Press:

RI Schools Required to Teach About Dating Violence

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. - Ann Burke saw signs of trouble with her daughter's boyfriend.

He'd incessantly call her at night, keep her from her family, and, ultimately, physically abuse her during a tumultuous relationship that ended with her death three years ago.

Burke's 23-year-old daughter, Lindsay, may not have understood the dynamics of an abusive relationship, but her death is helping to ensure that other young people do.

A new law in Rhode Island called the Lindsay Ann Burke Act requires all public middle and high schools to teach students about dating violence in their health classes.

The initiative was spearheaded by Burke and her husband, Chris, who say schools should be obligated to teach teens the warning signs of abusive relationships and broach the subject head-on so victims feel empowered to get help and leave violent partners.

"If this could happen to her, this could happen to anyone," said Ann Burke, a health teacher who runs a memorial fund to raise money for dating violence workshops for parents and educators.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

This is an excellent act and I am glad to see that middle schools, not just high schools, are included in the education. When I was in junior high, I was already experiencing inappropriate behavior from boys including physical abuse (bruises on my wrists from being grabbed and forced when refusing to comply to demands regarding sexual touching), sexual abuse (incessant uninvited groping of my breasts by a boy on the school bus) and emotional abuse (threats of suicide/self-harm if I did not comply with demands for sexual stimulation)-- all of which left me bewildered, fearful and eroded my sense of self-worth. I can't believe that I was the only girl at my middle school who was experiencing these sorts of behaviors, especially considering the boys who were involved, who were quite popular.


Dating violence is a pattern of controlling behaviors that one partner uses to get power over the other, and it includes:

  • Any kind of physical violence or threat of physical violence to get control
  • Emotional or mental abuse, such as playing mind games, making you feel crazy, or constantly putting you down or criticizing you
  • Sexual abuse, including making you do anything you don’t want to, refusing to have safe sex or making you feel badly about yourself sexually
Early warning signs that your date may eventually become abusive:

  • Extreme jealousy
  • Controlling behavior
  • Quick involvement
  • Unpredictable mood swings
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Explosive anger
  • Isolates you from friends and family
  • Uses force during an argument
  • Shows hypersensitivity
  • Believes in rigid sex roles
  • Blames others for his problems or feelings
  • Cruel to animals or children
  • Verbally abusive
  • Abused former partners
  • Threatens violence

Does your boyfriend/girlfriend:

  • Have a history of bad relationships or past violence; always blames his/her problems on other people; or blames you for “making” him/her treat you badly?
  • Try to use drugs or alcohol to coerce you or get you alone when you don’t want to be?
  • Try to control you by being bossy, not taking your opinion seriously or making all of the decisions about who you see, what you wear, what you do, etc.?
  • Talk negatively about people in sexual ways or talk about sex like it’s a game or contest?

Do you:

  • Feel less confident about yourself when you’re with him/her?
  • Feel scared or worried about doing or saying “the wrong thing?”
  • Find yourself changing your behavior out of fear or to avoid a fight?

Does your partner:

  • Embarrass you with put-downs?

  • Look at you or act in ways that scare you?

  • Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?

  • Stop you from seeing your friends or family members?

  • Take your money or Social Security check, make you ask for money or refuse to give you money?

  • Make all of the decisions?

  • Tell you that you’re a bad parent or threaten to take away or hurt your children?

  • Prevent you from working or attending school?

  • Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault, or even deny doing it?

  • Destroy your property or threaten to kill your pets?

  • Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?

  • Shove you, slap you, choke you, or hit you?

  • Force you to try and drop charges?

  • Threaten to commit suicide?

  • Threaten to kill you?

If you answered 'yes' to even one of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship.

More information on dating violence can be found at the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.


Nydia said...

This post is so complete, Turtle, that I had to link to it at my page.


PS: Sorry, I deleted the previous comment, it was all mistyped!

Tori said...

I came here from Nydia's blog. This is such a complete post. Thank you for writing it. It really is an important thing to know about, I wish all schools were required to teach this.

peppylady said...

Abuse is bad in word and style that one uses.
I've seen all sort of abuse.
I known woman who abuse men.

Coffee is on.

Turtleheart said...

NYDIA~ thanks again for linking to this over at your blog

TORI~ I agree, I wish ALL schools were required to teach about dating violence, especially middle school, when so many begin dating and have no idea what a relationship should or shouldn't be like. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

PEPPYLADY~ You've brought up another issue that few people realize happens-- women can abuse men, it's not always the other way around. And those men need support just as much as a battered woman does.

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