Prevalence of dating violence
Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been a well examined and documented phenomenon in adults; however, there has not been nearly as much study on violence in adolescent dating relationships, and it is therefore not as well understood.The research has mainly focused on Caucasian youth, and there are yet no studies which focus specifically on IPV in adolescent same-sex romantic relationships.
This is also an important topic from a gender studies perspective as almost 32% of male adolescents engage in some form of violence, whether sexual, physical or emotional, towards their partners while adolescent violence from females is nearly half of that rate.While classifying the perpetrator as a threat may be detrimental to his or her life and future relationships, not classifying the perpetrator this way may put future partners at risk.There is considerable debate over whether we as a society have an accurate picture of the prevalence and severity of teen dating violence by gender.It is important to note that although male and female adolescents do not differ in "overall frequency of violence in dating relationships," females are subject to "significantly higher levels of severe violence".Other research indicates that boys who have been abused in childhood by a family member are more prone to IPV perpetration, while girls who have been abused in childhood by a family member are prone to lack empathy and self-efficacy; but the risks for the likelihood of IPV perpetration and victimization among adolescents vary and are not well understood.There is a common misconception that aggression is stable over time.
That is, young people who are labeled as or considered to be violent and aggressive at any point in time are then assumed to be dangerous for the rest of their lives.
This is a contentious issue because there is a desire to protect both parties involved (or that have the potential to become involved) in teen dating violence.
The literature on IPV among adolescents indicates that the rates are similar for the number of girls and boys in heterosexual relationships who report experiencing IPV, or that girls in heterosexual relationships are more likely than their male counterparts to report perpetrating IPV. stated that, unlike domestic violence in general, equal rates of IPV perpetration is a unique characteristic with regard adolescent dating violence, and that this is "perhaps because the period of adolescence, a special developmental state, is accompanied by sexual characteristics that are distinctly different from the characteristics of adult." Wekerle and Wolfe theorized that "a mutually coercive and violent dynamic may form during adolescence, a time when males and females are more equal on a physical level" and that this "physical equality allows girls to assert more power through physical violence than is possible for an adult female attacked by a fully physically mature man." Regarding studies that indicate that girls are as likely or more likely than boys to commit IPV, the authors emphasize that substantial differences exist between the genders, including that girls are significantly more likely than boys to report having experienced severe IPV, such as being threatened with a weapon, punched, strangled, beaten, burned, or raped, and are also substantially more likely than boys to need psychological help or experience physical injuries that require medical help for the abuse, and to report sexual violence as a part of dating violence.
They are also more likely to take IPV more seriously.
By contrast, boys are more likely to report experiencing less severe acts, such as being pinched, slapped, scratched or kicked.
Girls are more likely to report committing less serious forms of IPV, including as a means of self-defense, whereas boys are more likely to report committing more severe acts of IPV, including threats, physical violence and controlling a partner.