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We quickly identified “breaking the silence” as a key strategy in our dating abuse awareness and intervention efforts.Since young people were reluctant to talk with adults, we engaged youth in our program design, implementation and evaluation.First, notice that dating violence is a pattern of behavior.This does not necessarily mean that the first instance of abuse is not dating violence, but merely that dating violence usually involves a series of abusive behaviors over a course of time.We are not only making a difference in the lives of young people affected by dating abuse today, but perhaps more importantly, STAR peer leaders are learning positive lessons in leadership that will foster the development of socially committed adults possessing faith in their own abilities to effect long-term social change and to achieve greater social equality that is not constrained by race, class, color, faith, sexual orientation or gender.
Love Shouldn’t Hurt and STAR are among the most important initiatives we have undertaken to break the cycle of violence.
The result of our collaboration with youth is the “Love Shouldn’t Hurt” program.
Love Shouldn’t Hurt is an awareness, intervention, and prevention initiative that addresses the serious issue of abuse in dating relationships.
This definition also points out that the core of dating violence is power and control.
As the diagram shown below shows abusive words and actions are the tools that an abusive partner uses to gain and maintain power and control over his/her partner.