So the latest research concludes and we couldn’t agree more.  Women ages 16 to 24 experience dating violence, sexual assault and physical abuse in relationships at higher rates than any other population.  Despite efforts to intervene, educate and prevent abusive relationships in high school and college students, statistics reflect an unchanging tide.

With seventh graders and “tweens” beginning to date, they are already being exposed to dating violence and the ever growing normalization of violence in romantic relationships.   In 2010 a study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released this spring revealed that among 1,430 seventh graders, 75% had already had a boyfriend or girlfriend.  Of those students, 33% reported being the victims of psychological dating violence and nearly one in six had experienced physical dating violence.  Almost 50% had been sexually harassed or been the target of sexual slurs.

Hardy Girls Healthy Women has been at the forefront of this issue, addressing the needs of middle school girls.  From Adversaries to Allies, a research based girls’ group curriculum developed by Drs. Lyn Mikel Brown and Mary Madden, engages middle school girls in conversation to critically think about what a healthy relationship looks like and how the media perpetuates and normalizes violence in relationships.  Developed with middle school girls, From Adversaries to Allies brings girls together to support each other, be in coalition rather than isolation, and empowers groups of girls to genuinely ask the questions needed to cultivate a paradigm of what it means to be in a healthy relationship.

Want to learn more about From Adversaries to AlliesRead more about this curriculum, buy a copy in our online store, and keep an eye out for upcoming webinars from our Training Institute on using this curriculum with the girls in your life.