20 March 2009

Rihanna: Distressing Reactions from Teenagers

Alarming numbers of 200 teenagers surveyed by the Boston Public Health Commission think Rihanna is to blame for the fact that Chris Brown beat her, leaving her looking like this.

The numbers don't seem to add up to 100 percent, but here are some of the statistics:
  • 51% said Chris Brown was responsible for the incident
  • 46% said Rihanna was responsible for the incident
  • 52% said both individuals were to blame for the incident, despite knowing at the time that Rihanna had been beaten badly enough to require hospital treatment
The American Bar Association has compiled some other statistics that put this in context. Among their findings are that one in five high school girls reports violence in an intimate relationship and that a quarter of high-school age kids say they know at least one student who has been a victim of dating violence.

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that between 1993 and 1998 (the report was written in 2000) about a million women a year were victims of violence occurring in an intimate relationship. Younger women are more likely to be beaten.

It's like drugs, and sex, and alcohol, and cigarettes. We have to talk to kids about these issues before they get to be teenagers, and we have to do so early and often, in low-key contexts as well as in explicit ways.

Money where my mouth is? Well, I've talked to The Offspring about cigarettes. He's five; I figure I have a year or two left for some of the other stuff. But I try to take opportunities when they come; the other day he read "Crack Is Wack" on a city mural and asked about it, and I told him crack is a bad drug that messes with people's heads. Enough detail for now, I think.