WIBX First News Talks With Seventeen Magazine Editor About Alexandra Kogut Murder
WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning spoke with Seventeen Magazine about the story titled "The Time Bomb Boyfriend."
Deputy Editor Caitlin Moscatello spoke with Bill Keeler and Kristine Bellino about the case that sparked the story, that of New Hartford, New York native Alexandra Kogut, who was killed on September 29, 2012, allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend, Clayton Whittemore.
Why did the Alexandra Kogut story interest "Seventeen?"
Seventeen spent three months working on the story. The magazine's editors felt it was important to cover the issue in depth, especially since it is estimated that teens and young women between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four experience higher rates of date abuse than any other age group. Keeler said that the most brutal and extreme cases of violence stand out but there is also great concern over the other cases about which not many people know. Moscatello said that while physical violence is easy to see there are more than a million high school students who experience dating violence. She says that often, when a love interest makes demands that appear unreasonable, or texts incessantly, teens often hide it. She says that teens, new to the dating world, often do not know what is "normal" behavior and what is not.
Her advice for parents includes keeping lines of communication open with teenagers, talking about relationships, and checking text messages, particularly when it appears that a teen is going out of her way to hide the texts.
Moscatello says that because obvious cases of abuse get so much publicity, the every day, and more common forms often go unnoticed. Bellino asked her about the differences between "caring" and "control," and teaching teens the difference.
It was the Seventeen interview with Alex Kogut's younger sister Sydney, Moscatello said, that really helped bring the story home. Alexandra was very much "every girl;" she was like many other college freshmen, excited and looking forward to her boyfriend coming to visit her in college. Instead she ended up being killed.
Keeler said that it is important not only to discuss the topic with young women, but to talk to young men about it as well. He asked Moscatello what parents should be teaching both boys and girls.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Moscatello spoke of Seventeen's partnership with No More, an organization designed to help put an end to dating violence and domestic abuse and Avon's m.powerment by mark Campaign (you can follow m.powerment by mark on Facebook for more information). She said that young men who were surveyed by the magazine feel that they are not a part of these discussions. Including them can help not only by helping to further the discussion but by further protecting young women, including their sisters and those closest to them.
There is a difference between knowing the schedule of someone who is important to you and "keeping tabs" on a person. Keeler points to the fact that both he and his wife know where the other is at all times, but it is far from keeping constant watch over each other. Moscatello says it is important to set good examples early, as it is often during the teen years that young adults become "pre-wired" for adult life.
They discuss the affect of drugs and alcohol and whether they have the potential to increase the dangers associated with dating abuse. Moscatello warns that a lot of the extreme cases happen in the absence of drugs and alcohol, however.
For the article Seventeen spoke with four young men who have histories of being abusive. Important clues are given for young girls as to the meaning behind not only certain texts but the behaviors associated with them, and their frequency.
The article can be found in the March issue of Seventeen.