Understanding Teen Dating Violence
Submitted by Teresa Swope
Dating violence is a type of intimate partner violence. It occurs between two people in a close relationship.
There are three common types of dating violence:
Physical—This occurs when a partner is pinched, hit, shoved or kicked.
Emotional—This means threatening a partner or harming his or her sense of self-worth. Examples include name calling, teasing, threats, bullying, or keeping him/her away from friends and family.
Sexual—This is forcing a partner to engage in a sex act when he or she does not or cannot consent.
Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. Dating violence often starts with teasing and name calling. These behaviors are often thought to be a “normal” part of a relationship. But these behaviors can lead to more serious violence like physical assault and rape.
Why is dating violence a public health problem?
Dating violence is a serious problem in the United States. Many teens do not report it because they are afraid to tell friends and family.
~72% of 8th and 9th graders reportedly “date”. 1 in 4 adolescents reports verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse from a dating partner each year.
~About 10% of students nationwide report being physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past 12 months.
How does dating violence affect health?
Dating violence has a negative effect on health throughout life. Teens who are victims are more likely to do poorly in school. They may engage in unhealthy behaviors, like drug and alcohol use. The anger and stress that victims feel may lead to eating disorders and depression. Some teens even think about or attempt suicide. Victims may also carry the patterns of violence into future relationships. Physically abused teens are three times more likely than their non-abused peers to experience violence during college.
Who is at risk for dating violence?
Studies show that people who harm their dating partners are more depressed, have lower self esteem, and are more aggressive than peers. Other warning signs for dating violence include:
•Use of threats or violence to solve problems
•Alcohol or drug use
•Inability to manage anger or frustration
•Poor social skills
•As Problems at school association with violent
•Lack of parental supervision, support, or discipline
•Witnessing abuse at home
How can we prevent dating violence?
The ultimate goal is to stop dating violence before it starts. Strategies that promote healthy relationships are vital. During the preteen and teen years, young people relationships with others. This is an ideal time to promote healthy relationships and prevent patterns of dating violence that can last into adulthood. Prevention programs change the attitudes and behaviors linked with dating violence. One example is Safe Dates, a school-based program that is designed to change social norms and improve problem-solving skills.
How does CDC approach prevention?
CDC uses a 4-step approach to address public health problems like dating violence.
Step 1: Define the problem
Before we can prevent dating violence, we need to know how big the problem is, where it is, and whom it affects. CDC learns about a problem by gathering and studying data. These data are critical because they help decision makers send resources where they are needed most.
Step 2: Identify risk and protective factors
It is not enough to know that dating violence is affecting a certain group of people in a certain area. We also need to know why. CDC conducts and supports research to answer this question. We can then develop programs to reduce or get rid of risk factors.
Step 3: Develop and test prevention strategies
Using information gathered in research, CDC develops and evaluates strategies to prevent violence.
Step 4: Assure widespread adoption
In this final step, CDC shares the best prevention strategies. CDC may also provide funding or technical help so communities can adopt these strategies. For a list of CDC activities, see Preventing Violence Against Women: Program Activities Guide (www.cdc.gov/are learning skills they need to form positivencipc/dvp/vawguide.htm).
Where can I learn more?
Choose Respect Initiative www.chooserespect.org
National Domestic Violence Hotline1-800-799- SAFE (7233)
National Sexual Assault Hotline1-800-656- HOPE (4673)
National Sexual Violence Resource Centerwww. nsvrc.org
National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Centerwww.safeyouth.org
1. Foshee VA, Linder GF, Bauman KE, et al. The
Safe Datesproject: theoretical basis, evaluation
design, and selected baselinefindings. American
Journal of Preventive Medicine 1996;12(Suppl
2):39–47. 2. Avery-Leaf S, Cascardi M, O’Leary KD, Cano A. Efficacy of adating violence prevention program on attitudes justifying aggression. Journal of Adolescent Health 1997;21:11–7.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance—United States, 2007. MMWR2008;57(No.SS#4).
4. Smith PH, White JW, Holland LJ. A longitudinal perspective on using information gathered in research, CDC developsdating violence among adolescent and college-age women.and evaluates strategies to prevent violence.American Journal of Public Health. 2003;93(7):1104–9.
For more information, please contact:Centers for Disease Control and PreventionNational Center for Injury Prevention and Control 1-800-CDC-INFO • www.cdc.gov/injury • firstname.lastname@example.org
January Is National Stalking Awareness Month
Submitted by Teresa Swope
January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affects 3.4 million victims a year. This year’s theme—“Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.”—challenges the nation to fight this dangerous crime by learning more about it.
Stalking is a crime in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, yet many victims and criminal justice professionals underestimate its seriousness and impact. In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims, and stalking is one of the significant risk factors for femicide (homicide of women) in abusive relationships. Victims suffer anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population, and many lose time from work or have to move as a result of their victimization.
Stalking is difficult to recognize, investigate, and prosecute. Unlike other crimes, stalking is not a single, easily identifiable crime but a series of acts, a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear. Stalking may take many forms, such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts, or visits. One in four victims reports that the stalker uses technology, such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras, to track the victim’s daily activities. Stalkers fit no standard psychological profile, and many stalkers follow their victims from one jurisdiction to another, making it difficult for authorities to investigate and prosecute their crimes. Communities that understand stalking, however, can support victims and combat the crime.
For additional resources to help promote National Stalking Awareness Month, please visit
http://stalkingawarenessmonth.org and www.ovw.usdoj.gov.
10 THINGS MEN CAN DO TO PREVENT GENDER VIOLENCE
Submitted by Teresa Swope
1. Approach gender violence as a MEN’S issue involving men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethic backgrounds. View men not only as perpetrators or possible offenders, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers.
2. If a brother, friend, classmate, or teammate is abusing his female partner—or is disrespectful or abusive to girls and women in general—don’t look the other way. If you feel comfortable doing so, try to talk to him about it. Urge him to seek help. Or if you don’t know what to do, consult a friend, a parent, a professor or a counselor. DON’T REMAIN SILENT.
3. Have the courage to look inward. Question your own attitudes. Don’t be defensive when something you do or say ends up hurting someone else. Try hard to understand how your own attitudes and actions might inadvertently perpetuate sexism and violence and work toward changing them.
4. If you suspect that a woman close to you is being abused or has been sexually assaulted, gently ask if you can help.
5. If you are emotionally, psychologically, physically, or sexually abusive to women, or have been in the past, seek professional help NOW.
6. Be an ally to women who are working to end all forms of gender violence. Support the work of campus-based women’s centers. Attend “take back the Night” rallies and other public events. Raise money for community-based rape crises centers and battered women’s shelters. If you belong to a team or fraternity, or another student group, organize a fundraiser.
7. Recognize and speak out against homophobia and gay-bashing. Discrimination and violence against lesbians and gays are wrong in and of themselves. This abuse also has direct links to sexism (e.g. the sexual orientation of men who speak out against sexism is often questioned, a conscious or unconscious strategy intended to silence them. This is a key reason few men do speak out).
8. Attend programs, take courses, watch films and read articles and books about multicultural masculinities, gender inequality and the root causes of gender violence. Educate yourself and others about how larger social forces affect the conflicts between individual men and women.
9. Don’t fund sexism. Refuse to purchase any magazine, rent any video, subscribe to any web site, or buy any music that portrays girls or women in a sexually degrading or abusive manner. Protest sexism in the media.
10. Mentor and teach young boys about how to be men in ways that don’t involve degrading or abusing girls or women. Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programs. Including anti-sexist men’s programs. Lead by example.
This list was produced by MVP strategies, a gender prevention, education and training organization.
Email : MVPStraties@aol.com
Facts About Alcohol Abuse & Domestic Violence
Battering is a socially learned behavior, and is not the result of substance abuse or mental illness. Men who batter frequently use alcohol abuse as an excuse for their violence. They attempt to rid themselves of responsibility for the problem by blaming in on the effects of alcohol. Many men who batter do not drink heavily and many alcoholics do not beat their wives. Walker’s (1984) study of 400 battered women found that 67% of batterers frequently abused alcohol; however, only one fifth had abused alcohol during all four battering incidents on which data were collected. The study also revealed a high rate of alcohol abuse among non-batterers. In one batterers program, 80% of the men had abused alcohol at the time of the latest battering incident. The vast majority of men, however, also reportedly battered their partner when not under the influence of alcohol. Date on the concurrence of domestic violence and alcohol abuse vary widely, from as low as 25% to as high as 80% of cases.
• Alcoholism and battering do share some similar characteristics, including:
• both may be passed from generation to generation
• both involve denial or minimization of the problem
• both involve isolation of the family
A battering incident that is coupled with alcohol abuse may be more severe and result in greater injury. Alcoholism treatment does not “cure” battering behavior, both problems must be addressed separately. However, provisions for the women’s safety must take precedence. A small percent (1%-14%) of battered women have alcohol abuse problems which is no more than that found in the general female population. A woman’s substance abuse problems do not relate to the cause of her abuse, although some women may turn to alcohol and other drugs in response to the abuse. To become independent and live free from violence women should receive assistance for substance abuse problems in addition to other supportive services. Men living with women who have alcohol problems often try to justify their violence as a way to control them when they’re drunk. A woman’s failure to remain substance free is never an excuse for the abuser’s violence.
Information supplied by : National Woman Abuse Prevention Project
The Continued Importance of The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Submitted by Teresa Swope
Submitted by Teresa Swope
Are you worried about a friend in an unhealthy relationship? Here are some suggestions for how to be a supportive ally to your friend:
Make sure your friend knows that you’re there to hear about their relationship. Tell them you want to hear about the good and the bad—this will make it more likely that they’ll feel comfortable talking to you about the hard stuff.
Stay present in their life
More than anything, your friend needs to know that they are loved and supported by people who know them and know what’s go-ing on in their life. Continue to be a friend to him/her even if their abuser tries to isolate them from you by saying mean things to you or trying to make it difficult for you to be around your friend.
Let your friend know you see them as a strong person in a difficult situation. Tell them that they’re not alone or crazy, that you’re there to support them and that there are other people experiencing similar situations.
Be supportive of their decisions
Your friend may decide to stay in a relationship that you think they should leave. People surviving bad relationships often know when it is the best time to leave or change the relationship and it is important for them to hear from friends that they are supported in staying if that’s what is safest. Keep being their friend even if they decide to stay or make other decisions you think aren’t great. If they do stay, help them strategize ways to make their current situation safer.
Research healthy relationships, contact organizations that work with survivors of relationship violence and get more information. Don’t force this information on your friend, but have it available as something you can share with them when they’re ready. Check out showmelovedc.org
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships
Show Me HEALTHY LOVE by…
- letting me express my opinion without fear
- sharing decision making with me
- taking responsibility for your own actions
- respecting me
- encouraging me
- having great, consensual sex with me
- surprising me with affection
- making my life bigger
Don‘t show me UNHEALTHY LOVE by…
- isolating me from my friends and family
- trying to control me
- insulting or humiliating me
- threatening to out me
- keeping me from my friends
- controlling how I spend money
- insulting me
- hurting me physically or emotionally
- forcing me to have sex unprotected or when I don’t want to
- making my life smaller
What’s your vision of healthy love?
The above information was found at showmelovedc.org