As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, our culture’s attempt to celebrate love and romance, I think it is important to understand what is happening in the “love” lives of the children of our country.
As far as I am concerned they shouldn’t be having “love” lives, but they are, and they are increasingly becoming violent or abusive. In August 2001 CNN.COM did an article about a study that looked into teen dating violence. The study revealed that 1 in 5 teen girls are victims of physical and/or sexual abuse.
Just today the Washington Times had an article about a new study. This study focused on “tweens” (identified as children 11-14).
Perhaps more surprisingly, almost 30 percent of these young teens think oral sex and sexual intercourse are expected in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. And hundreds of tweens report that their dating partners have harassed them, bossed them around or tried to monopolize their time.
A few even report physical abuse, such as hitting, slapping or kicking, or being pressured into having oral sex or intercourse.
As if being pressured into doing things you don’t want to do and being called names isn’t abuse enough a “few even report physical abuse”! This is terrible. I don’t think we appreciate how much of an impact that these things have on the rest of a person’s life. These poor children are being harmed and we turn a blind eye to it.
Where does the blame lie? Certainly the entertainment industry plays a part. I don’t have to tell you the filth that flows from the music industry, TV, movies, and video games. The sad thing is the reason I don’t have to mention it is because we are hip deep in it ourselves. The more we support trash the more we harm the young people in this country, including our own children.
I think blame also lies with our promotion of romance. Romance is all well and good, but it is not essential to life. You won’t die if you never kiss a person of the opposite sex or have a boyfriend/girlfriend. Yet we are bombarded with the lie that we need to have romance in our lives. Just standing in the check out line at the grocery store reveals this to me. You would think that we would be experts in romance and bringing the passion back to our relationships since every month every magazine has at least one idea on how to do this. Yet, this is also seen in the adults who just need to be in a relationship, even if it is a bad one. So what do the kids in those situations learn? That having someone is more important that anything else, even your dignity and respect.
After saying all of that what it really comes down to is parents. Parents have to be vigilant about what their children put into their minds. Parents have to monitor how their children dress and the friends that they have. Parents have to be part of their children’s lives. What is really sad is that these things are happening and the parents have no idea. Their child is hurt and they don’t know it and allow that child back out into that vicious place of teen dating.
Church if we are going to talk about justice let’s start with those with the weakest voices. Our children are being bombarded with stuff they are not ready for (are we ever ready for it?) and they need people who will speak for them. This has less to do with education and more to do with speak the dark and ugly truth. That is what light does it reveals what is in the dark. Let us stop sweeping the abuse of our children under the rug and help the world understand the real evil that is going on.