I recently heard a news item on a local radio station that reported the assignment of two police officers to focus on domestic violence in my community. The newscast included a quote from a police representative, who said: "We have to teach young people about inappropriate behaviors in relationships that can lead to domestic violence."
Such an announcement is a clear indication that this problem is widespread and severe enough that police officers are involved on a regular basis. I find this sad, but I am intrigued by the idea that intervening with young people might be able to make a difference.
Young men tend to be interested in the conquest. They are driven by powerful physical urges and often lack the degree of understanding and empathy they may develop later in life. Young women live the life of the pursued. They wait to be asked out and their self-esteem can take repeated hits when the phone doesn't ring. Viewed in this context, a date often consists of two needy people seeking validation from the other. Guys need to curb their natural aggressiveness and girls need to ignore that little voice that says, "I better put up with whatever he does or he won't like me." I can see how this combination can lead to dysfunctional patterns, even to the point of violence.
What do you think? Have you experienced the sorts of pressures I described? Can you verify that these or other factors can lead to domestic violence? How do you think we could educate young people, both guys and girls, to help prevent this problem?
I'll post my favorite response next week (or perhaps even a few of the responses), with a link to the winner's blog.