This is a best of TLC4Women from 2007. I thought it was worth reading again!
In a 2005 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the statistics show that 1 in 11 high school girls are victims of physical abuse. While other experts say this statistic is low and could be as high as 1 in 4. Reporting can be spotty since most girls keep it a secret. On the surface it’s hard to understand why a girl would go through this when she has her life ahead of her and her choices are endless. Only the problem with this type of thinking is that we forget to think like a teenage girl whose completely infatuated with love and having that cute boy at any cost.
As with adult women in abusive situations these men are often quite apologetic after their abuse. They cry, they send flowers or gifts, the promise that it will never happen again. They swear that if she hadn’t have angered him so much he wouldn’t have done it. If a grown woman falls for these lines time after time then what can we expect from our teenagers?
At TLC we are studying Fight Like A Girl by Lisa Bevere. It’s an excellent study and through the discussions we are tackling these very issues. What does it mean to fight like a girl? What does using our strength look like and if we as the women God has placed to lead our girls don’t know then how do we think they respond? A question I asked last week to our youth girls was, “What does showing your strength as a woman look like?”, it was met with blank stares. I then asked the women, “Why can’t the girls that we mentor answer this question confidently?” and it was boldly answered by one women, “Because we don’t know either”.
We must empower our girls to know that they are the Crown of Creation. There is a way to treat a woman and that must be taught. I know you are reading this and thinking we have to teach our sons but the fact of the matter is that you as a woman need to understand how you should be treated and not accept anything less than that. I have to admit I saw that we aren’t doing our job with our daughters when I heard a young woman of 17 say, “A woman shows her strength by being tough, showing a man she can do it by herself you know? They can’t hurt her.”
A woman doesn’t show her strength by being tough. We weren’t designed to be physically tough. We were designed after everything on the earth was created. God didn’t create anything else after he created us. We show our strength in our nurturing, we show our strength in our ability to be relational, we show our strength in our love. Teen girls are being abused because they don’t know their strength, they don’t know their worth, they don’t know their possibilities. So they think being abused is as good as it gets and that saying sorry fixes it. We need to elevate our worth to a higher standard.
Just because a male is good-looking, charming, popular, smart or a jock doesn’t mean he has character and integrity. A person can be smart but that doesn’t mean they are decent humans. Just because he says he is sorry doesn’t mean we take him back. We are worthy of so much more than this! How will our young women know these things though if we aren’t teaching it? How can we change these statistics unless we speak out and have dialogue? Stop for a moment as you read this and think about it. Have you talked to the young women in your life about abuse in dating? Are you watching for the signs?
We must learn that our strength is in our ability to think for ourselves. Our strength is holding ourselves to a high standard of morality and worth. Our strength is in not following the crowd. Our strength is in the ability to discern right from wrong. These things only happen when we are able to truly know who we were created to be.