Last year in Salon, Broadsheet's Lynn Harris wrote about an organization called TEAR: Teens Experiencing Abusive Relationships. The group, founded and run by teenage girls, tries to educate both female and male teens about the signs of abuse -- and how to avoid or escape from it.
It's a great, much-needed organization, and today TEAR's getting some media attention: It's being featured on the "Montel Williams Show" (click here to find airtimes).
What's more, in February the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Liz Claiborne launched the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline and an associated Web site, Love Is Respect. Based out of Texas, the help line (which is looking for volunteers, FYI) offers 24-hour telephone support to teens who are in abusive relationships or who are trying to help a friend. The site also offers live online chats from 4 p.m. to midnight CST, seven days a week.
As Lynn Harris pointed out in her piece last year, it took a surprisingly long time for Americans to wake up to the idea that teens really do experience abusive relationships. But people's awareness has steadily grown, thanks in part to organizations like the National Center for Victims of Crime, which has helped publicize statistics about it -- for example, the fact that some 20 percent of teenage girls and young women "have experienced some form of dating violence." (The Center for Victims of Crime also runs its own teen-focused Web site and hot line, the Dating Violence Resource Center.)
We at Broadsheet congratulate the young women of TEAR for making it onto national television -- and send thanks to everyone out there working to prevent abusive relationships.