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The Ten Signs of Relationship Abuse cover image

The Ten Signs of Relationship Abuse 2008


Distributed by Human Relations Media, 41 Kensico Drive, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549; 800-431-2050
Produced by John G. Young
Directed by John G. Young
DVD , color, 28 min.

Jr. High - Adult
Adolescence, Psychology, Dating Violence, Abuse

Date Entered: 04/08/2009

Reviewed by Wendy Highby, University of Northern Colorado

Eight teenage victims (7 female, 1 male) describe their experiences in abusive dating relationships. The descriptions typify the ten characteristics of relationship abuse: isolation, jealousy, possessiveness, double standards, name calling, controlling behavior, threats of self-harm, playing rough, non-consensual sex, and violence. The testimonies of the victims are intercut with commentary by psychotherapist Jill Murray. Emphasis is placed on the tendency of the abusive behavior to escalate. The final story of a murdered teen, narrated by her mother, underscores the seriousness of the escalating pattern. A one-minute wrap-up at the program’s end encourages reporting of the abuse. As the credits roll, the teens discuss the improvement in their lives after the end of the unhealthy relationships.

The Ten Signs of Relationship Abuse is a powerful compilation of abuse survivors’ experiences. It is edited with a good balance of content between expert and victims. The use of the survivors’ stories provides a gripping and effective narrative. The experiences of fellow teens will be convincing to their peers. The film is accompanied by a loose-leaf teacher’s resource book containing student activities and fact sheets that describe strategies and resources available to help safely end the relationship. Follow-up use of the guide is crucial as the video program is chiefly descriptive of the problem and very briefly prescriptive of solutions. The film could be useful in both therapeutic and classroom settings. It would support curricula in social issues, health, counseling, and psychology. While this film is particularly appropriate for a high school audience, it could be useful for junior high to college age audiences with the caveat that it includes some strong language and brief discussion of sexual situations.