United States: Programs Educate Middle School Students About Relationship Violence
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 4:15 PM

In response to continued reports of high rates of physical and sexual violence among 16 to 24 year old women, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and federal lawmakers seek to prevent relationship violence by educating middle school students before they start to date.  
Middle-school intervention programs teach students about body language cues, strategies for risky settings, and responsible decision making. Start Strong Idaho, a program geared toward middle school students, holds workshops about social dynamics and teaches students about healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors. Boise is one of 11 sites that received a $1 million Start Strong grant for middle-school programs. 
A recent government report states that one in ten high school students is physically injured by a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Research also shows that some seventh graders experience physical and emotional harm while dating. The Robert Wood Foundation released a study of 1,430 seventh graders in eight middle schools in three cities, finding three-quarters of students already had a boyfriend or girlfriend. Nearly one in six reported experiencing physical dating violence, and almost half reported they had been touched in an unwanted sexual way or had been the target of sexual slurs.
Compiled from: Hoffman, Jan. A Warning to Teenagers Before they Start Dating, New York Times (3 June 2012).