Sisterhood Blog

When Your Daughter Is Being Stalked Via Text

By Leah Berkenwald

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Today I discovered the National Council for Jewish Women of Columbus, Ohio’s “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” community service project, which educates high school students about dating abuse and healthy relationships. The NCJW’s Love Shouldn’t Hurt committee, chaired by Nancy Eisenman, has reached over 1,800 students with their teen dating abuse lecture. The NCJW of Columbus, Ohio is working to pass a bill to require all schools to include educational programs about dating and relationship abuse in the high school curriculum. I applaud this initiative, and wish there were a similar bill on the floor of every state legislature.

Teen dating abuse is an issue dear to my heart after teaching in a high school last year and observing this kind of abuse on a daily basis. I think people are generally aware of physical abuse issues, and schools are quick to report bruises and other signs of violence. Harder to monitor, however, are signs of verbal, and electronic abusive behavior (depicted in the following television commercial):

I am sure most of us are familiar with this PSA about abuse via texting, but I am not sure most realize how realistic it unfortunately is. Texting simply provides another vehicle for the kind of verbal and psychological abuse that has always existed in unhealthy relationships, and it absolutely stuns me that there is no formal health education for teens on this subject.

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Leah Berkenwald is the online communications specialist at the Jewish Women’s Archive, and a contributor to its Jewesses With Attitude blog, which will be cross-posting weekly with the Sisterhood.


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