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The Teen Dating Violence Epidemic

In a story we saw on the national CBS news on March 3, 2015 about Teen Abusive Relationships there were several items of note. To us perhaps the biggest was 60% of all high school guidance counselors had to work with a student who was experiencing dating violence but fewer than 20% of the schools had a protocol for schools to follow. That leads us to believe they don’t know what to do.

When we say there is an epidemic of teenage violence in dating, that conclusion comes from no less than the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which reports that “in 2013 among students who dated 20.9% of female students and 10.4% of male students experienced some form of teen dating violence during the 12 months before the survey.” One In Five Teen Girls! That is twice the number of previous estimates.

The CDC or Center For Disease Control has defined TDV (Teen Dating Violence) “as the physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking. It can occur in person or electronically and might occur between a current or former dating partner.”

In a 2013 survey done by the CDC some of the findings included:

  1. “Dating violence is acceptable;
  2. One in 10 high school students has been purposely hit, slapped or hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend;
  3. Young girls and women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence-almost triple the national average;
  4. 72% of eighth and ninth graders are ‘dating’;
  5. Only one third of teens who are involved in a violent relationship ever told anyone about it;
  6. 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue.”

In our article entitled ‘Where Does Domestic Violence Come From? we offered our considered opinion that domestic violence is a learned trait passed down from generation to generation.

Sons and daughters see their parents abusing each other with little or no consequence and have to conclude that must be normal behavior. Add in the fact that there is no guidebook on what constitutes a healthy relationship other than what they see in their world. Is it any wonder then that teen dating violence is epidemic?

We firmly believe that the reason so much physical abuse among teenagers in a dating relationship is never reported is because these young kids don’t know right from wrong.

Many professionals believe that unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Teenagers often think some behaviors like teasing and name-calling are part of the normal relationship and are “cute.” These behaviors are often predecessors to abuses and more serious forms of violence.

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An assault in a teenage dating relationship is no different from any other assault. Consequently, we recommend that teens learn how to defend themselves by taking a self-defense course for women, if for no other reason than to learn the basics of self-defense. And it may not even be a bad idea to get a self-defense product such as pepper spray such as this one on a keychain that can immobilize an assailant for as long as 45 minutes.

Have you or someone close to you experienced teen dating violence?

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