Aren’t schools already addressing dating abuse on school campuses?
It may be difficult to grasp or accept, but sadly, far too many schools are not adequately addressing dating abuse on school campuses.
The dating abuse stories shared on this website help to shed light on the dynamics of dating abuse and why schools often overlook this issue.
The following factors contribute to schools’ inadequate responses:
- While child abuse, bullying and other forms of violence are defined and addressed in the California Education Code, there is no definition of dating abuse. Schools can not adequately address that which is not defined.
- While schools are required to address child abuse and other forms of violence and encouraged to address bullying in their school safety plans, they are not required to address dating abuse.
- Because dating abuse occurs in a relationship characterized by romantic or intimate feelings, there are dynamics that are distinct from other forms of violence. These distinctive aspects of dating abuse make it one of the most confusing and overlooked forms of violence.
- Many young victims and caring adults do not recognize warning signs of dating abuse and confuse controlling and even aggressive behavior as a normal part of a relationship, or even a sign of care.
- Fear, shame, denial and confusion often discourage victims from recognizing abuse or seeking help.
- When victims do seek help, adults often normalize harmful behaviors, minimize the impact, and fail to recognize the potential for escalating harm.
- As was (and is still sometimes) the case with adult domestic violence, dating abuse is often invisible to family members, and considered a “private matter” or “nobody’s business” by friends and other caring adults.