Violence Not Rare in Teen Dating

Article excerpt

Byline: Julie Baumgardner, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

If you have a teen, will have a teen or are the grandparent of a teen, I think teen dating violence is a topic worthy of your attention.

In a recent relationship-skills class for teens, the facilitator asked the participants what they do when they get angry at their boyfriend or girlfriend.

One young man spoke up and said, I just choke her.

When the facilitator told me this story, it made me sick to my stomach - I know this is the reality in many teen dating relationships. More often than not, we are seeing teens who do not know what a healthy dating relationship looks like.

According to a study commissioned by Liz Claiborne and conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited in 2008:

* One in three teenagers report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, choked or physically hurt by their partner.

* Sixty-two percent of tweens (age 11-14) who have been in a relationship say they know friends who have been verbally abused (called stupid, worthless, ugly, etc.) by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

* Only half of tweens claim to know the warning signs of a bad or hurtful relationship.

* Nearly one in five teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend had threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a break-up.

* Nearly 80 percent of girls who have been physically abused in their intimate relationships continue to date their abuser.

Studies conducted by the National Center for Victims of Crime indicate that teen dating violence runs across race, gender and socioeconomic lines. Males and females are victims, but boys and girls are abusive in different ways. Girls are more likely to yell, threaten to hurt themselves, pinch, slap, scratch or kick. Boys injure girls more severely and frequently.

A comparison of rates of intimate-partner violence between teens and adults reveals that teens are at higher risk in intimate-partner abuse.

Is your teen at risk? …