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What’s the difference between normal conflict and domestic violence?Conflict is part of every intimate relationship–that’s why conflict resolution skills are important.According to a Harvard study of 4,163 public high school girls in 2001, nearly 1 in 5 reported physical or sexual abuse in a relationship.“This is a major adolescent health issue,” says Jay Silverman, associate professor of society, human development and health, who directed the Harvard study.“It affects [girls’] academic lives, lowers their standards for relationships and puts them at great risk for unintended pregnancy and STDs.” No one knows what causes such behavior—theories range from violence in the home to alcohol and drug abuse; others suggest violence in movies and the Internet may play a role.What is clear: Boy abusers and girl victims, without help, are likely to repeat those roles as adults. Every afternoon she would sit on the front lawn of her house in a suburb of Palo Alto, Calif., hoping to catch a moment with Joe as he walked home from practice.“I just wanted to get away.” Just four months earlier, Sarah thought she’d found the perfect boyfriend, ready with corsages, compliments and movie dates.
Forgiveness Men who batter also cite the Bible to insist that their victims forgive them (see, for example, Matthew 6:9-15). Forgiveness, however, does not mean forgetting the abuse or pretending that it didn’t happen. They often use Ephesians (“Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord”) to justify their behavior. 21-33), however, refers to the mutual submission of husband and wife out of love for Christ.It means that husbands should love their wives as they love their own body, as Christ loves the Church.Initially flattered, Sarah gradually grew uneasy with Joe’s possessiveness.“He never really straight out said he didn’t like my friends, but he made it clear I didn’t need anyone else.
Sarah Van Zanten, 15, was lying on the floor, an ice pack on her aching ribs.