Teen dating violence epidemic tyra
For example, consider Claiborne’s statement, “69% of all teens who had sex by age 14 said they have gone through one or more types of abuse in a relationship.” Having “sex” referred to not just intercourse or oral sex, but ever “having gone further than kissing and making out.” “Abuse,” as noted, was defined to include just about any problem. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families.
Thus, the “69%” figure actually referred to around 30 of the 1,043 youths surveyed who had experienced even the mildest negative interaction with a partner with whom they had gone further than kissing or making out. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, 2000.
In particular, advocates have extended the definition of “teen dating violence” far beyond NAAG’s criterion of “a pattern of controlling and abusive behavior of one person over another within a romantic relationship including verbal, emotional, physical, sexual and financial abuse.” Program advocates’ first exaggeration technique, aside from including figures for 20-24 year-olds (an age group with considerably higher violence rates) as “teenage dating violence” and continuing to repeat higher 1990s numbers, is to cite one-time behaviors rather than those documenting a “pattern of controlling and abusive behavior.” As will be seen, a girl saying something to make the boy sitting next to her in class feel bad about himself could constitute “dating abuse” by Liz Claiborne’s definition.
The second exaggeration technique is to emphasize not the small numbers of teens who report actually being abused, but secondhand guesses by teens in response to speculative questions as to whether “people your age” might suffer abuse by dating partners. Thus, while 2% of 11-14-year-olds reported being abused, 20% speculated that undefined peers might experience dating abuse.
For behaviors more commonly considered emotionally abusive and controlling, just 3% of teens had “been concerned about your safety (being hurt physically because of him/her)” and 2% reported that a dating or hookup partner actually had “threatened to hurt you or himself/herself if you were to break up.” Nor does the survey confirm Claiborne’s and news media assertions that modern communications technology has opened up vast new theaters of meanness.
Only 2% of 11-12-year-olds and 7% of 13-14-year-olds had ever had a partner say anything “really mean” about them using cellphones, text messages, instant messaging, social sites, blogs, or other Internet tools one or more times. An update on “the cycle of violence.” Research in brief.
Program advocates’ third and most disturbing exaggeration technique is to expand the definitions of “relationship” and “abuse” substantially beyond behaviors normally associated with the terms.
Around one in 50 younger teens and one in 30 older teens report intimate partner violence in a year’s time, levels similar to those among adults. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, 2007. Survey conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, (February 2005).  All references to Teen Research Unlimited survey questions and results for Liz Claiborne, Inc., are from note 9.
Should schools adopt prescribed dating abuse programs, then?
Intimate partner violence has fallen the most dramatically.
The NCVS found that from 1993 to 2005, the proportion of teenage females reporting intimate partner violence fell by 70%. These seemingly calming trends and numbers have not moderated program advocates’ alarms, however.
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They stereotype even very young students as promiscuous, violent, and cruel.