Dating Violence

by Tracee Sioux

In Texas, almost 188,000 incidents of domestic violence occurred during 2005, and more than 330,000 rapes occur every year, according to Gov. Rick Perry’s office.

But it always starts with the girls and boys. Intimate violence is not a problem that develops when healthy adults get together.

In 2007 Texas finally decided to address it. This is the first year dating violence education is being required in the public school system.

Both the victim and the offender attribute responsibility for dating violence to the victim. The majority of both girls and boys site the girl’s appearance, the girl’s personality, the girl’s provocation, the girl’s communication style, the girl’s need for affection or the girl’s peer group influence as the cause of intimate partner violence.

Prevalence and Frequency

* Females age 16-24 are the most vulnerable to intimate partner violence, suffering at a rate of three times the national average.

* Both males and females report being victims of dating violence. However, boys injure girls more severely and frequently.

* 1 in 5 female high school students report being abused by an intimate partner.

* 22% of all homicides of females between 16-19 were committed by their intimate partner.

* Half of adult sex-offenders admit their first violent offense occurred before age 18.

* Half of reported date-rape occurs to teenagers.

* Teens who experience partner violence are at increased risk for unhealthy eating behaviors, sexually risky behaviors, pregnancy, suicide, and substance abuse.

Parent Awareness

* 81% of parents say dating violence is not an issue or they don’t know if it is.

* 54% of parents have never discussed it with their kids.

Teen Awareness

* 33% of teens have witnessed a dating violence incident.

* 20% of male students say they have witnessed a friend hitting his girlfriend.

* 39% of females report that whether a person is trying to control his partner is a common topic of conversation.

* 57% say they know someone who has been verbally, physically or sexually abusive in a dating relationship.

* 45% of girls say they know someone who has been pressured into intercourse or oral sex.

* 1 in 3 teens say they know someone hos has been punched, hit, kicked, or slapped by their dating partner.

Reporting

* Among females 83% said they would confide in a friend. Only 7% said they would tell the police.

* 33% of teens who have been the victim of abuse never told anyone.

The Offender

* Out of 1,600 teen sex offenders

* Only 33% said sex was an expression of caring and love.

* 25% said it was about power and control.

* 9.4% said it was a way to dissipate anger.

* 8.4% said it was a way to punish.

Contributing Factors

* One study found a high correlation between teen-mothers being abuse by their partners within 3 months after the birth of the baby.

* 77% of female and 67% percent of male high school students endorse some form of sexual coercion such as unwanted touching, kissing, hugging, genital contact and sexual intercourse.

* Male peer support for violence against women is a constant predictor of violence against dating partners.

* 50% of victims of dating violence report being suicidal, compared with 12% of non-abused girls and 4.5% of non-abused boys.

To verify the statistics and research the sources click here.

For more Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Tools and Resources click here.

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