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argues that while men inflict the greater share of injuries in domestic violence, researchers and society at large must not overlook the substantial minority of injuries inflicted by women.

The Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness describes dating abuse as a "pattern of abusive and coercive behaviors used to maintain power and control over a former or current intimate partner." Individuals of all walks of life can find themselves in an abusive relationship.While the incident created a much-needed dialogue around issues of teen dating violence, the response from many teenagers was alarming.In Chicago, many teens felt the assault was funny, even warranted.This is clearly controlling behavior, but some teens accept it as a normal part of dating.Three years ago, a story broke in the entertainment world that put a face on teen dating violence -- hip hop star Chris Brown, 18, was charged with assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna, 19.The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), enacted by Congress in 1994, focuses on four areas: domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence.The first three of these issues were each given a designated "awareness month" years ago, but it wasn't until 2010 that February was designated as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.Several local nonprofit organizations, including Between Friends and the YWCA, offer violence prevention programming, both in schools and community workshops around the city.Let's support programs like these, and make sure we are teaching our sons and daughters that violence in relationships is not normal, and it is not okay. While the immediate impact might be humiliation and/or physical pain, young people who experience abuse are more likely to be in physical fights or bring weapons to school.They might exhibit higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse as well as high-risk sexual behaviors.


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