Girls friendships can prevent dating abuse

Other initiatives come out of the One Love program, an effort to raise awareness of the warning signs of abuse and end relationship violence.The nationwide program was founded by the mother of University of Virginia senior Yeardley Love, who on May 3, 2010 was found beaten to death in her off-campus apartment, the victim of a brutal assault by her former boyfriend."The more we tell ourselves something, the more we believe it," Ms. "Talk about what we're good at." It's just one of a yearlong series of exercises designed to prevent violence and help girls develop skills that help them avoid or prevent their involvement with domestic violence."All the stuff we do now, research shows it helps prevent dating violence," Ms. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and several area groups that work with young people highlighted how common the problem is.It is funded by the United Way of Central Massachusetts' Women's Initiative.Besides learning to recognize social and media pressure, girls talk about what they can do to feel good about themselves, such as writing in their own beauty books about what beauty means to them and replacing negative attitudes with positive affirmation.

Murphy, assistant dean of students and director of counseling at Worcester State University.

She said, "It has really significant risks on their psychological functioning and their physical health," including sleep disturbances, significant anxiety and depression, and increased drug and alcohol use.

"The prevalence always shocks me, and also how insidious dating abuse starts," Ms. "When someone is really controlling early in a relationship, it can look like passion and romance." Kathy Odgren, director of programs at Girls Inc., said one girl in the GPS program disclosed to a friend that she was the victim of sexual assault and learned that others at her school had also been assaulted.

"She looks really white," one student commented about the edited version of Beyonce Knowles, who is African-American.

Maggie Nicholson, a team leader for community-based services at the YWCA, and Jennifer Daly from Girls Inc.

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