A vibrant, educated, well-loved young woman from Rhode Island named Lindsay Ann Burke was murdered at age 23 by her abusive boyfriend. (READ HER FULL STORY HERE) Since Lindsay's death, her family has made valiant efforts to ensure that other women and their families do not fall victim to abuse, including the creation of a memorial fund and website that shares Lindsay's own personal story of abuse that ultimately lead to her death as well as facts and warning signs of abusive relationships and behaviors. It was created to help young women find help, hope, and shelter from an abusive relationship.

A recently approved law in Rhode Island called the Lindsay Ann Burke Act requires all public middle and high schools to teach students about dating violence in their health classes. The law mandates teaching the warning signs of an abusive relationship in the public high schools.  But more than just signs of abuse, the classes also teach skills for building healthy romantic relationships as well as healthy friendships.The National Association of Attorneys General has passed a resolution that the classes be offered at schools everywhere in the United States, and Liz Claiborne Inc. is helping to promote the idea across the country.

Having taught young adults in high school, I have seen young girls confuse controlling behavior for love and I myself, have been a victim of an abusive relationship. Though it's never easy to make someone see abuse for what it is when she's under the spell of romance (or fear, as the case so often is), maybe educating our youth about the difference between healthy passion and dangerous obsession will help prevent women from ever entering in to toxic relationships.

If you or someone you know is a victim, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE or visit their website: www.ndvh.org

Teen victims can also call the National Teen Dating Violence Hotline: 1-866-331-9474 or visit their website at www.loveisrespect.org
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