In Love and in Danger: A Teen's Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships

Article excerpt

In Love and In Danger: A Teen's Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships Barrie Levy. Seal Press, Seattle, 1993. Soft Cover: $8.95, 120 pages.

In Love and In Danger is a companion to Barrie Levy's earlier work Dating Violence: Young Woman in Danger. While Dating Violence is addressed to a professional audience, In Love and In Danger speaks directly to teens who are presently or were formerly involved in violent relationships.

As she did in Dating Violence, Levy makes liberal use of personal stories in her new work. Here, these stories function as a surrogate support group, ensuring that the reader understands that she is not alone in her experiences, fears, and feelings about those experiences. In addition to the three personal stories that begin the book, quotes from young victims and victimizers appear frequently to illustrate salient points of Levy's directive narrative.

The tone of In Love and In Danger is supportive and nonblaming. The chapters are short and succinct, making the work accessible to teens who may have trouble getting through lengthy sections. Short though they are, each chapter is filled with information and Levy challenges her readers to stop at the end of each, to ponder how information fits within the context of their lives. Each chapter concludes with a blank page on which Levy asks her readers to write down thoughts and plans.

In addition to the use of quotes from young people, Levy also presents information solicited from young victims and abusers. In Chapter Three, "What Is Dating Violence?" Levy includes a chart entitled: "When asked, 'What are some of the ways you have been EMOTIONALLY ABUSED?' teens answered..." along with two others in which the term emotionally abused is replaced with physically abused and sexually abused respectively. Readers are thus able to hear from their peers as well as from the "expert."

In chapter four "How Can You Tell if Your Relationship is Abusive," Levy presents her readers with two checklists: One is entitled Are you a Victim of Dating Violence? and the other, Are You an Abuser? These checklists are very effective in bringing both victims and abusers to label their experiences, and to begin to deal with them as abusive.

Levy takes full advantage of the established work on domestic and dating violence. Chapter Five relates Lenore Walker's cycle of violence construct in terms understandable to teens. Chapter seven is Ginny NiCarthy's explication of addictive and nurturing love.

The question of staying or leaving, specifically discussed in Chapter Ten, is preceded by a discussion of "The Scars Caused by Dating Violence" (Chapter Eight) and one on "Healing from Abuse" (Chapter Nine). …