Violence and dating

The  January 27, 2010 | The General Board of Church and Society has an article on violence and teen dating.  Given the high rate of abuse and miss-use that is common among our youth, any person who works with youth needs to be very aware of this issue.  This is not a new issue.  Twenty-five years ago when I was a teen, I remember listening to the stories of very good friends who were either abused by a boyfriend, date raped,  or avoided being raped only because they knew how to hit and run.

Unfortunately, things have not changed, and there is a credible argument that things may be getting worse.

As a former abuse victim, (neighbor, when I was 13), I remember all of the mixed messages I received from the church while I was recovering from the abuse.  Like so many young women, I did not seek professional help until I was much older. I didn’t even tell my family or anyone in any kind of position of power what had happened until I was well into my twenties.  However,  two Christian men in my church helped me come to terms with my feelings of worthlessness, self-doubt, shame and hurt.  They were volunteer youth group councilors who had no clue what had happened to me.  All they knew was that I was an awkward, skinny, overly developed and very shy teenage girl who wanted desperately to fit in, but had no tools to do it.  They were kind, friendly, affirming, firm, encouraging, and showed me that some men could be trusted.  Some men could have a proper relationship with  a teenage girl.  Some men were my friend.  More importantly, some men found me valuable and worthy of appropriate love.

They saved my life and they never even knew it.

One of these gentlemen has since passed.  The other is still with us.  He has a daughter who is now in her twenties.  I surprised him a while back when I was at my home church.  I pulled him aside and told him a little story about a scared and scarred girl who he helped save.  He was flabbergasted.  He didn’t know what to say.  I didn’t expect him to say anything, as he had already said and done all that was needed.  However, I wanted him to realize that his actions of just being the best Christian he knew how to be made a difference.  He made a difference.

So, as you go about your work with youth, remember that you do make a difference whether you know it or not.  You cannot know all that is happening in the lives of the youth that surround you.  However, you can make a difference by living and modeling what being Christ-like is really about:  Love of others, Love of self, and Love of God.

Dr. Mel

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~ by sideseat on January 28, 2010.

One Response to “Violence and dating”

  1. http://www.livescience.com/culture/children-social-rejection-100202.html

    Here’s an interesting related article. Mel

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