Perceptions – and Scope – of Corrosive Teen Dating Violence Vary Greatly

When more teens see dating violence occurring among their peers than not, there is a crisis at hand.

According to ThoughtCo., 80 percent of teens think that dating violence is an issue among their peers.  Each year, one in four teens report some sort of dating violence.  Whether it be verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, or digital, dating abuse is at an all-time high and shows little signs of improvement.

One in three adolescents involved in a high school relationship will fall victim to such violence, according to the National Council on Crime and Delinquency Focus. 

Love is Respect is a national organization that focuses on dating violence. In a recent survey, they found that 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner nationwide every year.  Such abuse has lasting effects such as substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, and further domestic violence.

While parents are not ultimately to blame for the abuse transpiring, they often do not help. About 81 percent of parents in a survey run by Love is Respect answered that they do not think teen dating violence is an issue. And 82 percent of parents are confident that they would notice the signs if their child was involved in an abusive relationship, but this is unrealistic for 58 percent of them in reality would not.

The National Institute of Justice has found that parent-child relationships plays a major role in teen dating violence.

After breaking up parenting styles into three categories – positive parenting, strict and harsh parenting, and disengaged and harsh parenting – it became noticeable that parent-child relationships can effectively prevent and address teen dating violence.

In a setting where there is positive parenting occurring, the toleration of violence was minimal and the expectations of the child in a relationship were clearly communicated for the wellbeing of the adolescent.

Each year, one in five adolescents report being victim to emotional (psychological) abuse, according to ThoughtCo.

“Nowadays, the number of teens I treat due to psychological battles from unhealthy relationships is appalling,” explained Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician Patrick Stern, “and the sad part is it often leads to sexual and physical abuse.”

Psychological abuse has become the most prominent form, according to the National Institute of Justice, accounting for 60 percent of reported victimization.  While sexual abuse (18 percent) and physical abuse (18 percent) are also very outstanding issues, it is imperative to put more focus on psychological abuse.

Body image plays a major role in both the occurrence of physical abuse as well as emotional abuse.  Body image encompasses many things including sex, relationships, puberty, weight, and popularity.

Girls between the age of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence – triple the national average, according to the Department of Justice.

Young girls are making poor decisions as an adolescent nowadays by de-valuing their bodies. One day, most will look back and regret their decisions.  The brain is not fully developed until age 25.  This adds to the psychological side of promiscuity which is still related to sexual abuse, since most of the time promiscuity exists to attract and keep a mate.

“Physical contact and sex were considered special back in the day and that type of relationship and involvement was saved for mature, long-term relationships,” explained Stern.  “Suggesting people wait until they are in this type of relationship helps adolescents mature individually and avoid physical and emotional abuse that comes from inappropriate relationships that adolescents aren’t ready for.”

There are many long-lasting effects associated with teen dating violence, including substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, and further domestic violence.

Upcoming generations are now introducing society to a new form of dating violence, digital violence.  A recent Webinar by Futures Without Violence found that one in four teens are harassed/abused through technology.  In other words, cyberbullying has continued to grow into the relationship world.

But, as Futures Without Violence webinar explains, awareness on digital dating abuse is on a rise.

That’s Not Cool is an organization that has coupled call out culture and humor to raise awareness through their app. The organization has created a digital tool that helps teens learn and practice healthy relationship skills.

In other words, the organization hopes to make respect and positivity cool through their app with an everyday challenge for all teens.

Yes, teen dating violence is at an all-time high, but it’s the out-of-the-box thinkers such as That’s Not Cool that, one hopes, are going to bring the statistics of teen dating violence down in the future.

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