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When we remain unaware that dating violence is a teen issue, we miss the very root of the problem.
Another scary fact tells us that violent behaviors within a dating relationship are occurring at earlier and earlier ages as younger and younger children start dating.
Interestingly, the rates of reported victimization versus perpetration in the state were similar for boys and girls. However, when it comes to severe teen dating violence — including sexual and physical assault — girls were disproportionately the victims. At a recent workshop on teen dating violence, co-sponsored by the U. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS), researchers presented findings from several studies that found that girls and boys perpetrate the same frequency of physical aggression in romantic relationships.
This finding was at odds with what practitioners attending the workshop said they encounter in their professional experience.
Singer Rihanna’s abuse by boyfriend Chris Brown is just one example as then 19-year-old Rihanna made her history of physical abuse at the hands of Chris Brown known to the world. In most cases it starts much earlier before it develops into full-fledged violence, and in some tragic instances, death.
A 16-year-old verbally abusing and emotionally controlling his girlfriend after class might make for a less dramatic mental image than our glamorous celebrity examples, but it doesn’t deserve our attention any less.
And so, to help further the discussion, we offer in this article a gender-based analysis of teen dating violence with a developmental perspective. We look at what we know — and what we don't know — about who is the perpetrator and who is the victim in teen dating violence.
We also discuss how adult and adolescent romantic relationships differ in the hope that an examination of existing research will help us better understand the problem and move the field toward the creation of developmentally appropriate prevention programs and effective interventions for teenagers.
Conventional wisdom says there’s no “right” age to start dating – it depends on the child’s maturity.But along with learning about what it feels like to hold hands at the mall, and to sneak a kiss on the patio steps, it is also a time for teens to learn important concepts such as boundaries, autonomy, and the right to say “No” without consequences.Jana and Chris didn’t realize that their 16 year-old son Michael, was unprepared in any of these lessons soon after he started going out with a new girl he had met through a friend.“He seemed honestly happy, he was really good at hiding what was going on,” Chris describes.“We didn’t find out until later how manipulative his girlfriend was being with him. I guess he felt like he was protecting her.” Chris and Jana noticed that Michael was becoming increasingly irritable and moody.