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Regarding the Aug. 8 editorial “Dating restrictions“: Research into the relationships of high school students suggests that many girls experience highly controlling or abusive partners, which is sadly unsurprising. What does surprise me is that in the year 2011, someone would still suggest that “The key to curbing this problem is for young women to learn to be assertive.”

This is simple, old-fashioned blaming of the victim. The root cause of the near-epidemic levels of partner abuse is not that young women are somehow not assertive enough, but that a very large group of people seem to think that it’s normal and appropriate to treat a girlfriend as personal property.

Making sure that girls and women know their rights is indeed essential. However, solving this issue is not the responsibility of the victims, and it is not within their power alone.

Society needs to take a firm stance against attitudes that lead to abusive behavior being considered normal, and it needs to let abusers know that their conduct is reprehensible and they will be punished if they inflict real harm on another person.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

nele noppe

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