My daughter is getting married. I can't believe it. She and her wonderful boyfriend have been talking about it for months but I wasn't sure they'd get around to being engaged so soon. They've "only" been dating for three years.
The time has given her (and us) opportunity to get to know the young man. We're very impressed. He's polite, friendly and everything we could hope for in a future son-in-law. Best of all, he seems to be very good to our daughter.
What is hard for me is looking at my daughter's relationship through the lens of an anti- domestic violence advocate. My background puts me permanently on guard on behalf of my kids. It's too bad that you can't put kids in a bubble and leave them there to be safe. Teen dating violence is all too prevalent. No one wants her child to be abused and I'm happy to say that there are no signs of that in my daughter's relationship.
The vigilance of being aware of teen dating violence began long before it became apparent that my daughter is getting married. From an early age we've talked about it and about sexual assault. My husband and I have consistently and lovingly to both of our daughters that they are loved and valued. Although nothing is foolproof these seem to be the first steps to ensuring that they will never become a victim.
Statistics on teen dating violence are sobering. New indicators are putting stats at around 1:3. It looks like we all have some educating to do on this subject. Most of us won't be able to take a class in school but we can walk around the internet looking for sites. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a good place to start and so is Love is Respect.
As I type this, I still can't believe that my daughter is getting married. One day she will probably have children. When/if that happens, I can only hope that she and her soon-to-be-husband talks with them about teen domestic violence and does everything she can to make them feel loved. Somehow, I feel that she's going to do just that.