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From Barnes & NobleOur Review
Seventeen, in Love, and in Danger
As a leading authority on abusive teen-dating relationships, psychotherapist Jill Murray's appearances on TV and radio talk shows, including Oprah, have prompted thousands of calls, letters, and emails. Now Murray has put her vast knowledge and experience into a book aimed at tackling this alarming problem. But I Love Him is an apt title as it represents the sort of excuse used by so many young women in abusive relationships -- women who are caught up in the throes of denial and who define love as a type of behavior. This is a must-read for any parent, as Murray emphasizes prevention as strongly as she does correction.
The statistics are shocking. More than a third of high school and college students surveyed say they have experienced violence in a dating relationship. About half of all dating women have suffered physical, emotional, verbal, and/or sexual abuse from their partners. One quarter of female homicide victims are between the ages of 15 and 24, and a third of all women murdered in the U.S. die at the hands of their boyfriend or husband. Clearly, relationship violence against women is a serious problem. And for many, it begins during the teen years, when emotions and hormones are both running high and dating habits are developed.
Murray attacks the problem using a three-pronged approach. The first is learning to identify the types of behaviors and situations that are a precursor to an abusive relationship, including how a boyfriend behaves, the type of home environment he comes from, and how a daughter caught in an abusive relationship might behave. The second step involves taking a hard and objective look at one's own family environment, identifying problematic behaviors and negative influences and making whatever changes are needed to promote trust, open communication, and harmony. The third step is learning what parents can and can't do, legally and otherwise, to rescue their daughters from abusive relationships.
Murray's coverage of the issue is extensive and dynamic. She addresses everything from minor verbal abuse to physical battery, from the type of behaviors that can help parents spot a potential abuser to the medical, legal, and psychological interventions available if such a relationship already exists. But I Love Him not only helps parents understand what motivates these young men and women. In the long run, it could save their lives.