In Their Shoes – Teens and Dating Violence

The Zonta Club of Boulder County hosted the April 9, 2011, Zonta District 12 Area 3 Annual Meeting at The Stratford at FlatIrons, Broomfield, CO. The theme of the meeting was “In Their Shoes – Teens & Dating Violence”. The theme was introduced by Kathy Robertson, a Zontian whose daughter Abigail was murdered by her ex-boyfriend – see www.abbysvoice.com. Though he was stalking and harassing Abby for some time, the family and friends, and Abby herself, did not realize the depths of his anger or recognize the signs of violence in his behavior. A panel discussion It Happens to “Someone Else”! included:

Prevention and education are the key tools. Red flags in a relationship are isolation from friends/family and property damage. You have the right to a safe and healthy relationship free from violence and free from fear.


  • Liz Claiborne Inc. Foundation – educational tools available (test your knowledge)
  • 48% of teen girls say they have been victims of verbal, physical or sexual abuse by their boyfriends.
  • 10% of teens age 15-18 are physically abused by an angry partner (kicked, punched, choked, slapped or hit)
  • 33% of teens say their partners wanted to know where they were and who they were with all the time
  • Tweens (11-14 year olds) in relationships report significant levels of abusive behavior in dating relationships


Check out the signs of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and verbal/emotional abuse. If it doesn’t feel right, talk to an adult. The cycle of abuse (courting/blow-up/make-up) needs to be interrupted before the blow-up phase. Ten Warning Signs of Abuse – from breakthecycle.org website: While there are many warning signs of abuse, here are ten of the most common:

  • Checking your cell phone or email without permission
  • Constant put-downs
  • Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  • Explosive temper
  • Financial control
  • Isolating you from family or friends
  • Mood swings
  • Physically hurting you in any way
  • Possessiveness
  • Telling you what to do

What can you do? If you see child abuse, call 911. Be the best witness. To help a friend, be there for them. Don’t judge. Don’t make decisions for them. Get them help. Tell them “I’ve seen it and I’m not OK with it.” Give them the Safe Shelter phone number.



http://www.longmontdomesticviolence.org/ — Children’s book On A Dark, Dark Night by Sara Pierce available.

Safetyweb.com – will monitor the web/calls/photos, etc. – receive automated parental alerts. Sexting is illegal.

http://parentingsafechildren.com/ — keep children safe from sexual abuse.  
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To be pro-active, please visit http://loveisnotabuse.com/web/guest/steps_overview and get involved. Especially important, please contact your state representatives and local schools – click on the FOCUS: LEGISLATION icon under REACH OUT for sample letters.