Teenage Dating Violence
According to the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, about 10 percent of teens nationwide reported being victims of physical violence by a romantic partner in the past year, with even higher rates of psychological victimization. In South Carolina, for example, nearly 8 percent of teens reported having been physically violent to a romantic partner. However, when it comes to serious teen dating violence, including sexual and physical assault, girls become disproportionate victims.
The same was true for the frequency of physical assault in romantic relationships. This finding is inconsistent with what practitioners who participated in the workshop said they had encountered in their professional experiences. Most practitioners representing national organizations, schools, and community-based victim services said that they saw primarily female victims, and when they discussed teen dating violence with students, they heard that boys were the primary perpetrators. Because teen dating violence has only recently been recognized as a significant public health issue, the complex nature of this phenomenon is not fully understood. While research on crime and victimization rates exists, studies that examine the problem from a longitudinal perspective and consider the dynamics of adolescent romantic relationships are lacking.
Teen dating violence is a pattern of controlling behavior by one adolescent toward another adolescent in a dating relationship. This behavior includes, but is not limited to, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. While 40% of teens in the United States know someone in an abusive relationship online, there are many similarities and some differences with adult dating violence. Teens are more likely than adults to be isolated from their peers by the controlling behavior of their boyfriend or girlfriend.
More than half of the girls in physically aggressive relationships said they and their dating partners were both aggressive in their relationships. About one-third of the girls said they were the only perpetrators and 13% said they were the only victims. The results of these three studies show that girls and boys often engage in mutually physically aggressive behavior in romantic relationships. While both boys and girls reported anger as the primary motivator for using violence, girls also commonly reported self-defense as a motivating factor. If you don’t understand, but you are not causing pain, you will accept the attack. You may even think you understand your attacker in a way that others don’t.
In addition, teen dating violence crosses racial, gender, and socioeconomic lines, and both males and females can be victims of this problem, so whether you have a son or a daughter, it is your responsibility as a parent to educate your teenager that violence is not normal. But sometimes there are teens who decide to stay in abusive dating, and for them, it’s part of the relationship and doesn’t require escape or help. When your teen is out with his or her partner, advise him or her to watch for signs of violent actions. There is a study on dating violence which says that victims of violent relationships often commit suicide, use drugs and alcohol, develop eating disorders and have risky sexual behavior.
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