September 29, 2011

Teen Breakups

This summit was created to fight teen dating violence.  

Justin: Breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend can be tough emotionally, but studies show they can also be physically hurtful as well. With a growing number of young girls becoming the target of break-up related abuse, now a group of teens is working to prevent that, and show there is a safer way to separate.

“We would argue about silly things.”

“The reason for the break-up was not respecting my wanting to be alone.”

“I feel like she didn’t really trust me.”

“It has more of, like, a deeper impact on yourself, as in it’s my fault. You blame it on yourself.”

Justin: These teens have all been through tough break-ups, something no one ever prepared them for.

“My parents really didn’t tell me, ‘Oh, this is how you break up with somebody.’”

Justin: That is why they are here at the ‘teen breakup summit,’ part of a nationwide effort to fight teen violence.

“What we tell teens is that if you are someone who is committed in a healthy relationship, you also need to be committed to having healthy break-ups.”

Justin: A romantic relationship can be great, but sometimes they can get serious and violent. Twenty-five percent of teens report verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse from a dating partner each year. And ten percent say they have been physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend. One big problem? These teens who are familiar with the dating scene, say the main lessons they get are from TV.

“I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!“

Justin: Especially reality TV.

For millions of teens, popular shows like MTV’s Jersey Shore and Teen Mom are the only examples for how to break up with someone.

“I believe a lot of times it’s the media that sort of shows people how to handle different types of relationships.”

Justin: Technology has also changed how people break up. One recent study found 30% of teens have been dumped via text message. Out of this group, everybody had either broken up with or been broken up with by text. And a status change on Facebook can make breaking up into a spectator sport.

“Everyone comments, and it brings drama.”

“it’s bringing public into a private relationship which isn’t good for anybody involved. “

Justin: Jamie Ragusa has seen firsthand what happens when a break up gets out of control.

“She was so friendly. She was great.”

Justin: A former schoolmate of hers was stabbed to death a month after she broke up with her boyfriend. He has been charged with murder.

“When something like that happens, you’re losing a part of your family. You’re losing someone so close to you.”

“It’s very important to talk to someone.”

Justin: Now these teens want to spread the message that there is a good way to break up.

“There’s a time when you know the other person can be extremely hurt and you just have to be considerate of those feelings as much as you can.”

Justin: As one saying goes, ‘Face it, don’t Facebook it.’

News reporter: In this morning’s Health Watch, teen breakups. They’re part of growing up. But they can also be violent.

Justin: The National Council on Crime and Delinquency reports that one out of three adolescent girls is a victim of some type of abuse.

Early Show contributor and psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein has a look at a new project to help teenagers end relationships in a more healthy and safe way. It is called Start Strong. An unprecedented $18-million initiative sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The goal? To teach teens how to break up without breaking down.


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