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Big Sister Weighs in On Dating Violence

Posted 03/25/2009

Dating violence worthy of listening

March 25, 2009

THE RIHANNA/Chris Brown abuse scandal has brought to light not only an ongoing issue of devastating importance, but also one that has elicited myriad reactions (“A Disturbia of dating violence,” editorial, March 19). The results of the Boston Public Health Commission’s survey on the topic brought our city to the forefront of national news. While we must seize the opportunity to keep the dialogue about this public health issue open, we must also be careful not to condemn teens for their opinions. If we rush to say, “How on earth could you blame the victim here?” youth will hear judgment and will shut down; we will miss the opportunity to listen – a necessary condition to changing attitudes and behavior. Instead of immediately jumping to judgment we need to open up a conversation – to ask “What do you think about the situation?” If a child, particularly a girl, thinks that Rihanna is ruining Brown’s career or has romantic notions about their reconciliation, keep asking questions.
The writer is CEO of the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.
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