Elaine did not realize her relationship was spiraling out of control. Jake, her former partner, grew increasingly controlling in his behavior. She tried to see the good in him and focused on those aspects. Over the course of their 13 month relationship she continued to adapt to his behavior instead of leaving.
“I learned not to upset him,” Kelly said. “I’d filter everything I said or did, even if [my actions] weren’t bad.”
Weeks after the Parkland Fla. shooting, the investigators go back to why Nicolas Cruz was expelled in the first place. The New York Times reports he was expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school for getting into a fight with his ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend. In addition, he was “taken” by another girl in his class “to the point of stalking her,” his former math teacher said.
“Cruz shared at least one trait with most mass killers in modern America: he abused women,” according to Quartz. “The perpetrators of mass shootings in modern America were overwhelmingly male and had a history of domestic abuse or misogynistic shows of behavior.”
The focus of domestic violence research is not just about the abuse, but also about what it becomes. A gun control group, Everytown for Gun Safety, analyzed F.B.I. data from 2009 to 2015 on mass shootings. The report found that at least 57 percent of mass shootings involved the death of a partner, a former partner or another family member. Furthermore, 16 percent of the assailants had been charged with domestic violence prior to the shooting.
Domestic violence does not just exist in adult relationships; it is a problem for teens as well.
“[Domestic violence] doesn’t just start out of the blue. People learn those behaviors even as children” a student who has multiple peers who have been in abusive relationships, Jesus Vargas ‘20 said.
Studies have shown that a large number of youth have dealt or will deal with domestic violence from a partner. One in three young people will be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship, according to DoSomething.org.
“I think it happens a lot more than people like to talk about,” health teacher Dawn Schabacker said.
During their semester of health, sophomore students receive a several day unit to address domestic violence, Schabacker said. There are activites in the workbook that allow students to evaluate their own relationships and also a page dedicated Lisa Santoro, a student of Nazareth Academy who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend in 1994.
Furthermore, LT partners with Pillars and the Constance Morris house once per year, sophomore social worker Joan Cushing said. They come and hand out pamphlets during the lunch periods at SC. There is a push for the Pillars to partner with the health classes to talk directly to each class, but that idea is in its still infancy.
“LT has a huge influence in the social and emotional learning of the students,” Cushing said. “If we can prevent a lot of violence and help anyway we could to slow it down, why not?”
Names have been changed to protect the privacy and safety of the victim.