I learned today that it is Teen Dating Violence awareness month. Here’s the website for the national campaign. One in three teens will experience some sort of relationship abuse. Women ages 16-24 experience the highest rates of intimate partner violence. See more statistics here.
Dating violence has been something I’ve been thinking about recently because of my job. It has been part of the international news as part of the Oscar Pistorius tragedy. Dating violence has also been part of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries Universe.
The last time I discussed the Lizzie Bennet Diaries at length the narrative was showing Lizzie and Lydia’s fight. From there the narrative of Lydia episodes 23-29 showed the beginnings of Lydia and George Wickham’s relationship. The videos are painful to watch, because they show many of the warning signs of emotional abuse: isolation from family/friends, jealousy, threatening self harm if the relationship were to end, extreme jealousy and mood swings. At the same time the narrative on Lizzie’s episodes were showing Lizzie and Darcy’s flirt fest (episode 78, 80 and 83). The juxtaposition of the two ‘love’ stories underscore the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships.
Personally, I think discussing the difference between a healthy relationship and a toxic relationship is important in our era where stories with problematic relationships (Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey) are idealized and seen as positive relationships by teens and women.
If you’re in a healthy relationship, speak up the world could use more positive stories. If you’re being abused reach out and seek help! If you think someone you know is being abused, speak up!