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But what I want to explore in this chapter is that transformation from the loving bonds we share with our parents and family to the passionate union we seek in a romantic partner, and which we seemingly need for survival as individuals and as a species. The word is tossed around, overused, misused, quoted, and commercialized so much that it’s difficult to determine what it really means.Certainly, the context in which we consider this emotion matters: I love to read; I love Chinese food; I love my mother. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists various definitions: “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person”; “attraction that includes sexual desire”; and “the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship.” But do any of these descriptions really answer our question?
In fact, love is such an important construct that researchers have studied it for years, investigating the different types, taxonomies, and styles, as well as how to keep it once you’ve finally found that elusive and magical potion.
More than 1 in 10 high school students surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported experiencing physical or sexual violence from a dating partner.
Data from the Department of Justice (PDF) suggests even greater risks for youth with disabilities: Domestic violence and sexual assault programs must be accessible for survivors with disabilities: not only because it is the basic right of all survivors to receive support, but because there is such a need for these services.
Partnerships between advocates in the disability community and the domestic and sexual violence fields are essential.
There are resources to help you make programs and services for dating and domestic violence survivors more inclusive.