Teen dating violence occurs when teens are in intimate relationship, it can have both short-term and long-term effects. It is more commonly reported in the west but it’s a matter of concern in India too with a lot of people getting into relationships at an early age. The fact that patterns of dating violence behaviour starts at an early age and carries through into adult relationships is disturbing.
A survey has revealed that one in two youngsters between 16 and 21 years (or 53%) suffer physical and sexual abuse while dating, revealed a survey. A similar number (47%) is abused emotionally and mentally. It has also revealed that 2% of the abused walk out on such partners.
Almost 40% of late adolescents (16-18 years) and early adults (19-21 years) admitted to have been victims of date rapes, sexual abuse and forced sexual acts, was found in a survey by the students of Nirmala Niketan College of Home Science. Social media’s role in such role was also evaluated.
Around 60% said that they didn’t disclose the abuse suffered because they were afraid of the reaction they would get from the adults. The violence in the form of emotional, physical and sexual is gradually increasing in the society. The abuse needs to be reported so that appropriate action can be taken at the right time under legal and correctional framework.
While some of the most common form of abuse are choking, hitting, scalding, kicking or threatening; blackmailing to seek naked photos, posting embarrassing photos on social media, sending videos to someone without consent of the partner or even using partner’s social media platform. Two in three youngsters claimed that their dating partners wrote distasteful things about them on social media.
On being asked about confiding in their parents, only 11% said that they did so, pointing towards the fact that most of the parents have no knowledge about their children’s abusive relationship.
This may be because in India people still treat dating as a crime, it is a forbidden topic here. The elders don’t talk about healthy relationships. Majority of the youngsters start dating under peer pressure and since there’s no talk about relationships, there’s no talk about the abuse either.
Most of this abuse occurs between 14 and 20 years, so the interference should be concentrated in high schools. This would have an impact on the mental health of the person.
In several studies it has been found that boys are more likely to report violence against them than girls. A study found that 5.8% of boys and 4.2 % of girls said they have experienced violence from their partners in the past years. There are lots of people who assume that it’s only the girls who have to suffer the violence but the studies clearly show that it isn’t always so.
84 % of cyber dating abuse victims also reported psychological dating abuse victimizations, 52 % reported physical dating violence victimization, and 33% reported sexual coercion. Further, 73 % of cyber dating abuse perpetrators also reported psychological dating abuse perpetration, 55 % also reported physical dating violence perpetration, and 11 % reported sexual coercion perpetration. Overall, less than one out of ten victims of dating abuse reported seeking help.
From the total sample of surveyed youth, 8% reported perpetrating cyber dating abuse in the prior year, 13 % reported perpetrating physical dating violence, 17% reported perpetrating psychological dating abuse, and 2 % reported perpetrating sexual coercion and/or unwanted sexual intercourse.
Several studies have also shown young adult intimate partner violence and adolescent teen dating violence to be reciprocal, meaning that both partners engaged in violence and abuse perpetration toward each other. 24 % of young adult intimate relationships could be characterized as physically violent, and half of these involved reciprocal violence. In reciprocally violent relationships, women reported more frequent violence than men. It is clear from these studies that many adolescent relationships involve reciprocal violence, but it is not clear that which gender perpetrates more severe forms of violence toward the other.
Young people who have experienced violence from their partners are more vulnerable to depression, suicide and may act out or take unnecessary risks. It is the parents, counsellors and teachers who should come forward and teach the teenagers about healthy relationships so they avoid getting hurt.
When asked the reason behind resorting to violence, boys and girls cited anger as the main reason. However, girls also gave self-defence as a motive for their violent behaviour, while boys mentioned control of their partner as a factor in their use of physical aggression.
One study found that 7.2% of teens were victims of partner violence both as teens and as adults, while 8.3% were victims only as teens and 24.8% were victims only in young adulthood. Early sexual activity seems to be a factor in the continuation of victimization from the teen to the adult years.
Dating violence can be of different types, like:
Emotional: It includes embarrassing, bullying, calling names, insulting and isolating someone from their friends and family.
Stalking: It refers to harassing giving rise to fear and anxiety in the victim.
Physical: This happens when the partner is hit, slapped, pushed, pinched, punched or kicked in public or in private.
Sexual: This includes forcing a person to do a sexual act for which they do not consent or aren’t legally allowed to do and threatening harm if consent is not given. It can be done either in person or through electronic media.
Warning signs of Dating Violence:
• Excessive jealousy
• Constantly checking on partner’s whereabouts
• Trying to isolate one from friends and family
• Having strong belief in gender stereotypic roles
• Raging temper
• Forcing to do sexual activities
• Dictating what you do
• Violent behaviour with others
• Usage of degrading language
How to prevent teen dating violence
• Understand the issues related to teen dating violence and learn how to recognize behaviours that are associated with teen dating violence.
• Talk about teen dating violence with children and teens before they begin dating. Teens will not typically volunteer information about dating violence, but if they are asked about it, they tend to disclose.
• Define teen dating violence.
• Explain how to recognize violent, controlling, and concerning behaviours.
• Encourage teens to report dating violence. Many teens find it unacceptable to report on relationships between two other teens, and may be reluctant to do so.
• Encourage teens to stand up for their peers if they witness problems and give them other resources for helping their peers.
• Encourage schools and communities to educate teens, parents, and teachers about teen dating violence and to participate in prevention efforts.
• Help teens learn to deal with challenging emotions such as anger, jealousy, and rejection.
• Model the behaviour you would like to see teens adopt.
• Promote a sense of community.
Teen dating violence can be prevented, when there is a focus on reducing risk factors as well as fostering protective factors, and when teens are empowered through family, friends, and others (which may include role models such as teachers, coaches, mentors, and youth group leaders) to lead healthy lives and establish healthy relationships. It is important to create spaces, such as school communities, where the behavioural norms are not tolerant of abuse in dating relationships. The message must be clear that treating people in abusive ways will not be accepted, and policies must enforce this message to keep students safe.