Chicago Violence Taskforce reports-Culture of Abuse Amongst Teens

Topic: Chicago Violence Taskforce reports-Culture of Abuse Amongst Teens

Kathy Motlagh

unnamed (1) A recent study by the University of Chicago revealed that abuse in teenage relationships is both prevalent and, surprisingly, accepted. Of the Chicago youth that were surveyed, 68% reported themselves as victims of adolescent relationship abuse, and 65% identify as having experienced psychological abuse specifically. Psychological abuse is the same type of emotional manipulation that a bully might leverage on its victims.

The survey subjects were all in committed relationships, which indicates that teenagers typically make an active decision to forgive psychological abuse. Why? One factor may be their inexperience; they simply don’t know what a relationship is supposed to be like. As a society we can combat violence among teens by teaching our children to not only identify unhealthy behaviors in relationships, but also to confront the situation either by opening a discussion or walking away. Another factor in why teens accept abuse in a relationship may be that they don’t consider the behavior to be negative, or at least not negative enough. Consider this astounding statistic: 62% of respondents admitted to participating in psychological abuse themselves. Knowing that, generally, survey respondents are less likely to admit to these types of behaviors, and because the disparity in this study between victims and participants is so small, it seems that the culture of disrespect among teenagers in Chicago is simply accepted.

The ThinkVirtues program is specifically designed to eliminate destructive behaviors like this by proactively drawing conscious attention to healthy ways to interact; through this program, communities can practice good behavior together. Children who exercise assertiveness, kindness and understanding at a young age become confident teenagers who respect themselves and respect others. And they are less likely to perpetuate negative behavior. Together, we can breed positivity and catalyze a culture shift.

* This study was commissioned by the Chicago Violence Taskforce. It was conducted by University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (NORC), who used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of teen dating violence: physical, sexual, psychological or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and might occur between a current or former dating partner.” Our story is based on “Examining Teen Relationship Abuse<>” by Raul España, Lane Tech, and Sanjana Srinivasan, Hinsdale Central.

Kathy Motlagh Bio:
President of ThinkVirtues, is the writer and creative force behind the Eutopia book series and accompanying products. Motlagh, a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, has taught art at the Montessori School of North Hoffman (IL) for the past twelve years and been an active board member of the school since its inception twenty years ago.

Motlagh’s business experience includes eighteen years in the mortgage banking industry, where she has been featured in business publications as one of the top female financiers in the country.

Motlagh resides in Chicago and involves her family, including her ten and eleven-year-old sons, in community service and fundraising activities for local nonprofits and charitable causes.”

Mission Statement:
Founded in 2011, ThinkVirtues empowers children to be confident, self-assured individuals who make a positive impact in our world. Their mission is to foster character and moral development within children as young as 4 years old. They offer a comprehensive set of products to equip parents and educators with the tools they need to cultivate a moral foundation. Based upon timeless virtues, the program increases a child’s emotional intelligence that prepares them for success in the classroom and beyond.

Kathy Motlagh Founder and President of ThinkVirtues

Author of ” Eutopia: The Discovery “


Washington Times article: article:

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