At my internship I mostly see the unhealthiest relationships, the ones that have ended in abuse. The unfortunate thing about this is a lot of women and men who end up as abusers or victims of abuse have themselves been abused or raised in abusive homes. There is a distinctly disturbing cyclical pattern to abuse. I firmly believe if there was more intervention in young children’s lives to educate them about what healthy relationships look like and how to have sex and relationships in respectful and smart ways that there would be far fewer clients for our center. No one talks about what is ok and not ok in relationships. Kids introduction and education often is only that which they witness in their own home and the things they see on television or hear in the music they listen to. The lessons learned from the media are often distinctly gendered, sexist, racist, classist and often extremely poor role models for what a healthy adult relationship should look like. And while some kids are lucky to have good examples at home many kids do not have the same good fortune. If all they hear at school is the biology of being human (and also an often very heterosexist, gendered version at that) then where on earth are they supposed to get the tools to deal with the tricky problems and risks that come from intimate relationships? We need to stop sending our children into such a complex and dangerous realm with inaccurate knowledge. Not talking about sex and relationships doesn’t protect our kids it makes them more vulnerable to disease, hurt, rape, unwanted pregnancy, and abuse. It’s time for us to take responsibility and to address the realities of the world that we live in so that the kids that grow into adults can have half a chance at making things better.