Using Literature to Help Troubled Teenagers Cope with Identity Issues

By Jeffrey S. Kaplan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
Identity through Intimacy:
Jenny Davis's Sex
Education

Marie Hardenbrook, Patti Mahoney, Jennifer Khera, and Margaret Goldman


INTRODUCTION

I helped her out of the nightgown very slowly, first pulling her arms out and then drawing the nightgown carefully over her head. What I saw stunned me. She was covered with bruises. Everywhere. Some were old and greenish yellow. Some, most, were fairly fresh, black and ugly blue. Two places on her arms were raw red and still swelling. "He's beating you," I gasped. "Maggie he's beating you." ( Davis, 1995, 135)

At least 2 to 4 million women each year are physically abused, and as many as 60% of married couples have experienced violence sometime during their marriage, according to the surgeon general's report, A Medical Response to Domestic Violence ( Novello, 1992). Karen Hanson, in "Gendered Violence: Examining Education's Role" ( 1995), cites the work of Nancy Worcester on adolescent battering as well as Barrie Levy's research on dating violence to support her conclusion that there are "significant similarities between adult battering relationships and those of adolescents" (5). More than one in ten adolescents reported violence in their dating relationships ( Levy, 1998). Four out of five students in an American Association of University Women Educational Foundation study, Hostile Hallways ( 1993), stated they had been harassed.

Teenagers today need positive models for healthy intimate relationships; they also need the support of caring adults as they search for the answers to their questions:

-59-

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