Jan. 22, 2001 -- "Well it wasn't two weeks after she got married that Wanda started gettin' abused She put on dark glasses and long sleeved blouses And makeup to cover a bruise Well she finally got the nerve to file for divorce She let the law take it from there But Earl walked right through that restraining order And put her in intensive care."
By Geneen Roth
Do you secretly believe it's selfish to put yourself ahead of others? If
so, you may never stop packing on pounds.
There are some things in life you take for granted: Your children will
outlive you. No matter how tough it gets, you won't poison your spouse with
arsenic-laced toothpaste. And if you have a best friend, you will attend her
But life sometimes upsets our most basic assumptions. And although I haven't
resorted to the arsenic (yet), I did have...
Reactions vary to the Dixie Chicks' controversial song "Good-bye Earl," in which an abused wife and her friend kill an abusive husband. Some women can relate all too well. Others, young and old, have a hard time understanding why a woman would stay with a man who beats her.
"It is kind of stupid to stay with someone who would hurt you, because it could be dangerous," says Terri, a 13-year-old Dixie Chicks fan and seventh grader in Philadelphia.
"Until you stand in their shoes, one won't understand the choices available or not available to them," says Maryadele Revoy, a public education specialist at the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence based in Harrisburg, Pa. "Adults [and teens] have the same questions and may not fully understand the delicate dynamics."
Yet young teens like Terri soon may learn in school about dating and domestic violence. A new trend is emerging in state and federally funded programs that combat violence against women: They are starting earlier -- in middle school -- targeting students as young as 12.
Girls are being taught to demand respect in their early dating relationships, while boys are learning to improve communication skills to avoid becoming abusers. Experts believe these efforts will have a long-term impact, eventually reducing rates of intimate partner violence. But since most of these programs are so new, no one knows for sure.
The term "intimate partner violence" is replacing "domestic violence," which has grown to include elder abuse and child abuse, while failing to encompass victims of same-sex violence. The CDC defines this as "intentional emotional and/or physical abuse by a spouse, ex-spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend, or date."
According to the National Violence Against Women Survey released in July 2000 by the National Institute of Justice and the CDC, intimate partner violence is a serious public health concern, with nearly one in four women questioned saying they were raped, physically assaulted, or stalked by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Based on the survey results, experts estimate that 4.8 million intimate partner rapes and physical assaults are perpetrated against women annually, with more than 10% resulting in injuries serious enough for the women to seek medical treatment.