Teenage Dating Violence
Teen dating is a process of courting that prepares and introduces the adolescents into heterosexual activities. Like marriage, it is marked with a wide range of abusive behaviors, which are used by either partner to gain control over the other. Research studies have shown that teenagers are at high risk of being subjected to dating violence as they are getting introduced to dating and intimacy (Giordano, & Mulford, 2008). This is compounded by the fact that teenagers are less likely to understand warning signs and disclose them to the trusted members of the society or report them to the authority. It is in this interest therefore, this paper is written. It focuses on the definition, historical foundation and societal intervention on teenage dating violence. It also gives the impact of teenage dating violence to their life and the community and legislative response to it
Teen dating violence is defined as range of abusive or threatening behavior perpetrated by either of the two partners against the other with an intention of gaining control or power (The National Center for Victims of Crime, 2010). Dating violence can be verbal, which may include shouting or calling bad names to the partner, his or her relatives or friends. It can also be emotional where the partner feels jealousy or tries to control the dressing, walking or speaking style of the other (Jackson, 1999). In this case the partner is emotionally unstable because the affected partner cannot express his/her desires. Sexual violence is another form of teenage dating violence and it can result from unwanted touching, kissing or any other forced sexual activities. Lastly is the physical violence, which involves any physical harassment such as slapping and/or punching.
Causes of teenage dating violence
Teenage dating violence is associated with several causes; top on the list is unequal role distribution (Jackson, 1999). In any marriage or relationship where there is unequal distribution of responsibility, there is a high probability of violence. Same goes to teen relationships. This is because the partner who plays much of the responsibilities like financial support tends to be possessive, oppressive and expects unnecessary recognition. If the other partner is not responsive to these requirements he/she can be abused.
Poverty is another major cause of teenage dating violence. Lack of enough financial support to meet ones needs is frustrating. This problem becomes worse if the partner was financially stable but was rendered poor or lack of financial support from parents in case of a teenage. The other partner might not be in a position to accept or adapt to these changes in status and living standards. This conflict of interest is risk and can amount to insults or even physical violence.
Another worthy noting cause of teenage violence is disagreement. Teenage dating like any other relationship has goals and a direction set by the involved parties. Many a times, it involves so many promises which end up not fulfilled (Kerman, & Powers, 2006). Some people find it hard to appreciate one another such cases and sees the failure to fulfill this promises as betrayal. This problem becomes worse if one of the partners decides to quit the relationship without a reason which can be understood by the other. In such situation some people are left with no other option other than to revenge through violence.
Cheating in a teenage relation ship is a major cause of dating violence (Malik, Sorenson, & Aneshensel, 1997). This is because at this age, boys and girls are introducing themselves to intimacy. They are therefore not used to cheating and its consequences. They tend to promise to stay together forever. If one of the partners cheats on the other, it can result to violence because they find it hard to leave each other but are not comfortable with each other.
Emotions and lack of self control cannot be left out in this discussion. This is because human beings cannot agree on everything and therefore they should be in apposition to accommodate each others mistake. This problem is compounded by emotional instability like lack of confidence to express their interests. Lack of self control can result to unnecessary violence. They should therefore learn how to control their temper and apologize to each other.
Lastly, drug taking among teenagers contribute to dating violence. Some drugs such as alcohol robs somebody control of his action and can result to irresponsibility and lack of control hence violence (Kerman & Powers, 2006). Still to be noted here is the fact that misunderstanding occurs when either of the partners is not comfortable with the drug addiction of the other or putting a lot of pressure to quit. One can decide to revenge by being violent
Why teens are vulnerable to dating violence
Research studies have shown that teens are vulnerable to dating violence and there are several barriers which prevent them from getting the necessary assistance. One of this barriers is that they are afraid to tell there parents or any other trusted adult (Wekerle, & Wolfe, 1999). Many people perceive teenage dating as premature and an act that can lead to premature sex, which has other far reaching consequences. Due to this reasons, the adults particularly teachers and parents tend to accuse it as a bad practice and a waste of time and hence this effort can be channeled to education which is believed by the society to be more advantageous. On the other hand, the teenagers find it an avoidable but have that perception of doing the wrong thing (Wekerle, & Wolfe, 1999). When subjected to violence, they become afraid of sharing their problems because they things it was there mistake and they could have avoided it by not engaging in teenage dating.
Another reason as to why victims of teenage dating violence find it hard to share their experience is fear of their peers (Miles, 2005). Teenagers are known to be influenced by their peers and therefore they are afraid of losing respect and friends. On this matter therefore, teenagers finds it hard to share some of heir violent experiences with their adults because it can be exposed to their peers. Some teenage problems are associated with sexual abuse like rape, incest and enforcement to have sex. These cases are very traumatizing and facilitates very much to their response to this mater.
Still to be noted here is that teenagers have emotional instability in the sense that they are afraid of loosing their partners (Kerman, & Powers, 2006). Teenagers have the fear of losing their partners because they may be very satisfied in the relationship unlike their partners. They therefore find it hard to leave the abuser because of the fact that they get special attention or they are provided with something they could not get it from any body.
Another point that cannot be ignored in this discussion is that teenagers are afraid of the abuser revenging in a more vigorous way which can amount to more suffering (Giordano, & Mulford, 2008). This is evidenced in many a man or women who get more aggressive when betrayed. This issue is underscored by the fact that many people, especially men, perceive failure in any relationship as a betrayal to their partners. They therefore try to revenge in a manner that their partners will feel and appreciate their manhood. No body accepts to be hurt and thus teenagers tend to hide their valence experiences because of this reason.
Still to be noted here is the fact that many states in America do not recognize the order of protection of minors. This point is stressed by the fact that many people in the society see teenage dating as a bad thing and a waste of time which could have directed to education as it is perceived to be the best way of securing life in America. Still to be noted here is that many states in America have laws which protect the minors and cases involving the minors like teenager dating violence tend to contradict the constituted laws which call for equality of all citizens. On this basis therefore, teenagers finds it hard to claim their rights as far as dating violence is concerned.
Measures that victims of teenage dating violence should take to control or tame the behavior
One of the measures a teenage can take to control dating violence is by sharing the experience with a trusted adult (Miles, 2005). Teenage dating violence is traumatizing and therefore more effort must be infested to ensure that our young boys and girls enjoy their teenage life. It is therefore their responsibility to overcome their fear and share their experience with well understanding people like their parents or teachers.
Teenagers have a responsibility to plan for their security. This involves making strong personal decisions on whom to engage with, avoiding unnecessary influence and choosing your meeting places. In addition to this, teenagers should be able to know who they can go to incase of emergency and what possible actions you can take to escape any form of violence. Such measures include a cell phone number which can be conducted incase of this tragedy.
Another point worthy noting is the fact that teenagers should try to avid being alone with their abusers (National Criminal Center for Victims of Crime, 2010). As a matter of fact, privacy in teenage dating is not necessary hence our young boys and girls should take the responsibility of avoiding this. This can be achieved through attending dates with a friend, relative or any other trusted person. It can also be enhanced by notifying your friends on whom you are going to meet and by ensuring that you meet in public places.
The issue of honesty and transparency cannot fail to be mentioned here. This is because introducing your partner to friends and relatives can help in tracing him incase of any violence. Further to this, it is advisable to meet at different public places and to specify where you want to be and when you are supposed to be back. It is also important to inform somebody of where you are going and when you are supposed to come back so that incase of any problem, they can trace you easily.
There is little or nothing at worst than an individual can do to change the life style of his or her partner. In this interest therefore it is the teenager’s responsibility to clearly identify his or her likes and dislikes before engaging in any relationship (Malik, Sorenson, & Aneshensel, 1997).
Societal intervention in teenage dating violence
The society has a role to play in preventing teenage violence. One of these measures is to be friendly to the victims of dating violence. They should not be blamed, isolated or disrespected but instead they should be encouraged that it was not their fault neither was it a punishment for their irresponsibility (Giordano, & Mulford, 2008).
Victims of teenage dating violence should not be encouraged to leave their partners. This is because she might be feeling powerless and afraid to be abused more. It was noted earlier that dating violence results when one partner uses power to have control over the other. Abusers do not give up and they can continue using violence even after they have been left. It is therefore advisable to try and solve the problem when still in the relationship.
Third way in which the society can help teenage dating violence victims is by encouraging them to seek help from an adult (Jackson, 1999). If possible, offer to go with them to counseling and assist them in expressing their experiences thoroughly and openly. Be patient with them and let them know that you are very concerned. Help them to make their own decisions even you disagree with them. Still on the same note, help these victims to plan for their safety in the community.
Lastly is that teenage dating violence victims should not be encouraged to revenge either to the abuser or any other partner in the future. This is because struggling to revenge may be costly, rob them a lot of effort and can be more frustrating if it fails. In addition to this, it can amount to conflict and hence physical violence. The involved authorities like the police should be informed immediately.
Signs of a teenage dating victim
Teens have been described to be introducing themselves in dating and therefore they might be shy to share what they are experiencing in their relationship. It is therefore advisable to keep an eye on them so that you can note when they are abused. One of this signs sudden change in behavior and engagement to drugs or alcohol (Wekerle, & Wolfe, 1999). This is a common sign especially among the boys. Still, if a teen starts isolating himself or herself from the rest of the family or turns out to be secretive or hostile can be a warning that they might be going through a dating violence.
Another sign to watch are physical injuries and destruction of property. It was described that physical dating violence can be fatal and therefore it is the responsibility of the parents and the society at large to be keen on their occurrences. In addition to this, teenage dating violence victims can be identified through their arguments and complains. They tend to describe their experiences as if it happened to somebody else or even apologize for their partner’s behavior.
Impacts of teenage dating violence
Victims of dating violence can develop a negative attitude towards members of their opposite sex (Kerman, & Powers, 2006). This has far reaching effects especially at adult age and in working areas where people are expected to interact with each other. Being unsocial and less interactive with the members of opposite sex can affect ones career.
Another impact of dating violence is substance abuse. This includes taking of drugs or alcohol and eating disorders. Sexual abuse can lead to pregnancy and infection of sexually transmitted diseases. In addition teen dating violence can lead to suicide risky sexual behaviors.
In conclusion therefore, teenage dating violence is common and can amount to far reaching consequences such as suicide and termination of studies. It was also revealed that it is the responsibility of parents and the society to make sure that our young boys and girls are safe all the time. Victims of teenage dating violence should be treated fairly and with love.
Giordano, P., & Mulford, C. (2008). Teen Dating Violence: A Closer Look at Adolescent Romantic Relationships. Retrieved July 30, 2010, from http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/journals/261/teen-dating-violence.htm
Jackson, S.M. (1999). Issues in the dating violence research: A review of the literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 4 (2), 233-247.
Kerman, E., & Powers, J. (2006). Teen Dating Violence. Retrieved July 30, 2010, from http://www.actforyouth.net/documents/Feb06.pdf
Malik, S., Sorenson, S. B., & Aneshensel, C. S. (1997). Community and dating violence among adolescents: Perpetration and victimization. Journal of Adolescent Health, 21(5), 291-302
Miles, A. (2005). Ending Violence in Teen Dating Relationships: A Resource Guide for Parents. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress.
National Criminal Justice Reference Source. (2010). Teen Dating Violence. Retrieved July 30, 2010, from http://www.ncjrs.gov/teendatingviolence/
The National Center for Victims of Crime. (2010). Teen Dating Violence. Retrieved July 30, 2010, from http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/AGP.Net/Components/documentViewer/Download.aspxnz?DocumentID=38057
Wekerle, C., & Wolfe, D. A. (1999). Dating violence in mid-adolescence: Theory, significance, and emerging prevention Initiatives. Clinical Psychology Review, 19 (4), 4