email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
12 and HoldingA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Lethal InheritanceA Mother's Courage: Talking Back to AutismA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA Special EducationA Toss Of The DiceA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainABC of Eating DisordersADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your LifeADHD Grown UpADHD in the Schools: Assessment and Intervention StrategiesAdolescence and Body ImageAdolescent DepressionAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAlpha GirlsAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAsperger Syndrome and Your ChildAsperger Syndrome, Adolescence, and IdentityAsperger's and GirlsAssessment of Childhood DisordersAttention Deficit DisorderAttention-Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderAutism - The Eighth Colour of the RainbowAutism and MeAutism's False ProphetsAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBeen There, Done That? DO THIS!Before I DieBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBipolar ChildrenBipolar Disorder in Childhood and Early AdolescenceBipolar DisordersBipolar KidsBlackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive DevelopmentBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoy AloneBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingBullying PreventionBut I Love HimCan't Eat, Won't EatCaring for a Child with AutismCatalystChild and Adolescent PsychiatryChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChild and Adolescent PsychopathologyChild NeuropsychologyChild Well-BeingChildren and SexualityChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren with Sexual Behavior ProblemsChildren, Sexuality and SexualizationChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneCommunication Issues In Autism And Asperger SyndromeConcepts of NormalityConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinConsuming KidsContesting ChildhoodCount Us InCrackedCrossesCutCyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy TeensDamageDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDisconnected KidsDoing SchoolDon't Bother Me Mom--I'm Learning!Don't Pick On MeDying to Be ThinEarly Intervention Programs and PoliciesEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismEight Stories UpElijah's CupEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEpilepticEthical Dilemmas in PediatricsEvery Girl Tells a StoryExiting NirvanaExploiting ChildhoodEye ContactFacing BipolarFamily HistoryFast GirlsForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillFrictionGirl CultureGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlhoodGirlWiseHandbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and AdolescentsHandbook of Preschool Mental HealthHealing ADDHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Hyperactive KidsHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHelping Students Overcome Depression and AnxietyHelping Teens Who CutHollow KidsHope's BoyHow Infants Know MindsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHurry Down SunshineI Am Not Joey PigzaIdentifying Hyperactive ChildrenIf Your Adolescent Has an Eating DisorderIn the Company of CraziesIncorporating Social Goals in the ClassroomIntegrated YogaIntrusive ParentingIssues for Families, Schools and CommunitiesJake RileyJoey Pigza Loses ControlJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKim: Empty InsideLearning and Behavior Problems in Asperger SyndromeLearning Disorders and Disorders of the Self in Children and AdolescentsLearning Outside the Lines Let Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLook Me in the EyeLoserLove and SexLove That DogMad at SchoolMaking ADD WorkMaking American BoysManicMastering Anger and AggressionMaverick MindMedicating ChildrenMind FieldsMind to MindMommy I'm Still in HereMore Than a LabelMy Flesh and BloodMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNew Look at ADHD: Inhibition, Time, and Self-ControlNo Child Left DifferentNo Two AlikeNon-Drug Treatments for ADHDNot Much Just Chillin'NurtureShockOdd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the WoodsOvercoming ADHDOvercoming School AnxietyParenting a Child Who Has Intense EmotionsParenting Children With ADHDParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeople with HyperactivityPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPlease Don't Label My ChildPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Problem GirlsPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy with Children and AdolescentsPurgeRaising a Moody ChildRaising BlazeRaising Generation RxRaising Resilient ChildrenReady or Not, Here Life ComesReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRemembering Our ChildhoodResilience in ChildrenRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRitalin NationRunning on RitalinRunning with ScissorsRutter's Child and Adolescent PsychiatrySeeing EzraSex and the American TeenagerSex, Therapy, and KidsSexting and Young PeopleSexual Teens, Sexual MediaShort Term 12Should I Medicate My Child?SmashedSnapshots of AutismSongs Without WordsSophie Spikey Has a Very Big ProblemSpeakStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStraight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for KidsStraight Talk about Psychological Testing for KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrange SonStudent DepressionSuicidal Behavior in Children and AdolescentsSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTemple GrandinThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Anti-Romantic ChildThe Bipolar ChildThe Boy Who Loved WindowsThe Boy Who Was Raised as a DogThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully Action GuideThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Burn JournalsThe Color of AbsenceThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Evolution of ChildhoodThe Explosive ChildThe Eyes of van GoghThe Fasting GirlThe Field of the DogsThe Flight of a DoveThe Hidden Gifts of the Introverted ChildThe Horse BoyThe Identity TrapThe Inner World of a Suicidal YouthThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Kindness of StrangersThe Last Normal ChildThe Little MonsterThe Medicated ChildThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Nurture AssumptionThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe Other ParentThe Perversion of YouthThe Philosophy of AutismThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Ride TogetherThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Science of ADHDThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Survival Guide for Kids With LD*The Unhappy ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouThings Tom LikesThrough the Glass WallThumbsuckerTotally WiredTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreating ADHD and Comorbid DisordersTreatment of Childhood DisordersTwistedUnder the Wolf, Under the DogUnhappy TeenagersUnstrange MindsWastedWe've Got IssuesWeather Reports from the Autism FrontWhat about the KidsWhat in the World Are Your Kids Doing Online?What Works for Whom?What Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhat's Happening to Tom?When Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhose America?Why Don't Students Like SchoolWill's ChoiceWinnicott On the ChildWorried All the TimeYou Hear MeYoung Minds in Social WorldsYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
This 184-page book is written for parents of teenage
girls, as the title implies. Many parents, both men and women, do not know what
is abuse and what is not, especially with emotional abuse and date rape.
Therefore, the book is listed as a parenting book, and it is written to
parents. Murray explains in her introduction that she wrote the book after
working in a battered womens shelter, where she found that virtually all of
the battered women had been in abusive dating relationships in high school.
Murray went into schools and tried to educate teens
about abusive relationships. As she explains, it was Murray who got the
education. She was surprised at how blind the girls and the boys were about
what is abusive and what isnt. After her lectures teenagers would stay and
talk with her about their own new awareness that they had indeed been engaging
in behaviors that they did not realize were abusive.
Another thing Murray states in the book is that
teens stay in abusive relationships for different reasons than adults. For
instance, adults stay because of economic dependence, religious and cultural
mores, and because of the children. According to her, teens who stay in abusive
relationships are doing so often because they are receiving implicit messages
from their families and society that it is not okay to explore and develop
their own identity. They become active participants in the cycle of the
Murray appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and was overwhelmed with the parents who
wrote to her about their daughters, whom they realized were in abusive relationships.
She says that it was because of her experiences, including the aftermath of the
show, that she wrote this book.
The specific topics covered include defining: teen
dating abuse; the different levels of abuse (she defines them in levels, starting
with verbal and emotional, moving to sexual and ending with physical); and
warning signs. I have at least as much experience as she does with victims of
domestic violence, and I would not describe them as levels, but instead as a
circle of violence with any or all of the types of abuse taking place.
She spends a chapter talking about why a girl would
choose an abusive relationship. Again, I disagree that a girl or a woman
chooses either the relationship, or to stay in the relationship. There are
men who are boys first, who are abusive. Some women and girls have the bad luck
to date or marry one of them. In fact, most abusive relationships do not start
until marriage and even later, when the first pregnancy occurs. Also, staying
is not seen as an option for many girls and women, in part because they do not
see the behavior as abuse. Denial is a big part of abusive relationships on the
part of both partners. Furthermore, the boys/men will act completely contrite,
promise never to do it again, and become even more loving, and the girls/women
Murray devotes another chapter to the role of
alcohol. Much of it is statistics about the number of teens who drink. The part
I found disturbing in this chapter, though, is that while it is true that
abusers become more violent when drinking, she does not point out that studies
have shown that even without alcohol abusive men will remain abusive unless
they receive treatment. Unfortunately, many women believe this, too, and this
leads to focusing on the cessation of alcohol use rather than the abuse. She
even labels the victims as codependents. I know many experts in the field who
would strongly disagree with this label. The blame goes with the abuser not the
abused. But Murray states outright: If she refuses your help (with alcohol or
drugs) you will be able to see very clearly that your daughter has made a conscious decision ((italics mine) to
stay in her relationship and be an active participant in the abuse ...
I couldnt disagree more. If a girl uses drugs or
alcohol, it could be to numb herself to the abuse, to avoid dealing with it, or
because she is a typical teenager experimenting. Murray herself started out the
book with all the numbers of teens who drink but then concludes that doing so
is abnormal and essentially is asking for it. (Quotation marks mine).
The book does have a considerable amount of
information in the back about where to get help, questionnaires to help define
abuse, and that kind of thing, but overall, I do not agree with the basic
premises of the book. The final straw for me was the chapter where she talks
about girls who abuse boys. Statistics have shown that this is very rare. More
importantly, when it does happen, it is usually in reaction to being abused
over and over by the boy/man, and it is the larger, stronger boy/man who can
leave the situation. This statement is supported in most of the literature on
In conclusion, while I feel that a book such as this
has potential to help teens avoid abuse, it may do more harm than good in the
long run. Because of the factors I pointed out, many parents will use it
against their daughters rather than as a way to help them. It has some merit,
but in my opinion, this is not the book I would give my daughter if I were
concerned about her being in an abusive relationship.
© 2003 Patricia Ferguson
Dr. Patricia Ferguson
is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of California, a freelance
writer and editor, and an artist. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from San Diego
State University and received her doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.
Her publications include research on rape in the Journal of Interpersonal
Violence, several articles on nuclear medicine for nuclear medicine technologists,
and an article on group therapy in The Reader's Guide to Social Sciences. She
currently writes book reviews for several venues, has a chapter in "Girl
Wars: Twelve Tried and True Strategies for Overcoming Female Bullying,"
(Fireside, 2003), and is an Editor-in-Chief for Apollo's Lyre, an online
magazine for writers. She is also working on a book of memoirs.