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Young People Are More Likely to Excuse Domestic Violence

What We Can Learn From High-Profile Domestic Violence

News of relationship violence among high-profile couples makes for dramatic and depressing headlines. Chris Brown's violence against Rihanna shocked many, and the allegations against Mel Gibson troubled most. But not every American had the same reaction. According to Esta Soler, the founder and president of the Family Violence Prevention Fund, data shows that young people are having a different conversation. They're more likely to accept physical violence as "something that happens in a relationship."

During my conversation with Esta, she explained that since Bill Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, "there's been a significant change around the way adults view the issues." Before domestic violence awareness became a priority 20 years ago, adults used to make excuses for it, but now the conversation has changed. Unfortunately, it's been more of a challenge to engage young people, according to Esta. She explains that "when the Chris Brown and Rihanna situation happened, what was really interesting, and what's really true in America, is that people over 25 to 30 thought one way, while people under that age group saw it another way."

Esta says that "we need young people to turn that corner and know that whether you like Rihanna or not, Chris Brown needs to be held accuntable for that because he crossed the line and the line was physical violence and that is not acceptable." We need everyone to know that it's not about liking a person, but about who's responsible according to the law — and that's the abuser.

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