Petition Closed

According to a 2009 survey sponsored by Liz Claiborne Inc., nearly 1 in 3 teens that have been in a dating relationship have experienced sexual or physical abuse, or threats of physical harm.  Even more alarming is the growing epidemic of digital dating abuse -- "sexting", cyberbullying, and harassment with cell phones. According to a 2009 study from MTV and The Associated Press, 50 percent of 14 - 24 year-olds have been the target of some form of digital abuse.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 72 percent of 8th and 9th graders report "dating."  By the time these students get to high school, more than half of them say they see dating violence among their peers. We need to create a national, comprehensive teen dating abuse curriculum and introduce it to children before they begin dating and developing unhealthy relationship habits.

Teen dating violence is a pervasive problem that call also be deadly. It is vital that we ask Congress to address teen dating violence and to make education on healthy and dangerous relationships a priority and a reality in all middle schools and high schools.

 

Letter to
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senate
Relationship violence and abuse are significant issues for teens and their families nationwide with serious and sometimes fatal consequences. Moreover, teen dating violence is impacting individuals at a critical stage in life, affecting all communities and knowing no racial, ethnic, religious or socio-economic boundaries.

According to a 2009 survey sponsored by Liz Claiborne Inc., nearly 1 in 3 teens that have been in a dating relationship have experienced sexual or physical abuse, or threats of physical harm. Even more alarming is the growing epidemic of digital dating abuse -- "sexting", cyberbullying, and harassment with cell phones. According to a 2009 study from MTV and The Associated Press, 50 percent of 14 - 24 year-olds have been the target of some form of digital abuse.

As a concerned citizen, I want to ensure that every middle and high school across the country is teaching a curriculum on preventing dating relationship violence and abuse annually and has teen dating abuse policies in place.

Legislators have a critical role to play. Attorney General President Patrick C. Lynch of Rhode Island is an advocate for preventing teen dating abuse. As President of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), he introduced the Teen Dating Violence Education Resolution with Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning. The Resolution was unanimously passed in June 2008 encouraging all attorneys general to work with their public school districts to incorporate teen dating violence and abuse curricula and policies in their states.

To date, there has been overwhelming support from government leaders to make education on this issue a policy priority.

It can be done: Attorney General Lynch worked with state legislators to pass legislation in Rhode Island in 2007, that would require all school districts in that state to incorporate a dating violence component into their respective health education curricula in grades 7 through 12, and would mandate that every school district develop a dating violence policy.

I ask that you lend your voice to this important matter, to ensure that middle and high schools across the country implement similar curricula that show our children what healthy relationships look like and ultimately, save lives.


Thank you for your time and attention.