And so, to help further the discussion, we offer in this article a gender-based analysis of teen dating violence with a developmental perspective. We look at what we know — and what we don't know — about who is the perpetrator and who is the victim in teen dating violence.
We also discuss how adult and adolescent romantic relationships differ in the hope that an examination of existing research will help us better understand the problem and move the field toward the creation of developmentally appropriate prevention programs and effective interventions for teenagers.
Although more females report injuries from dating partners, males suffer emotional abuse at the same rate as females.
Regardless of the form of abuse, it is always about the abuser's need for power and control, not the worthiness or failure of the victim.
Adolescence is a time for learning about relationships.
Teens often fail to recognize abuse, especially emotional abuse, because they are inexperienced with dating and may have misperceptions about romantic love.
Physical abuse may involve pushing, slapping, hitting, pulling hair, threatening with a weapon, and sexual assault including rape.
Teen dating violence can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, race, or sexual orientation.
However, we find that this adult framework does not take into account key differences between adolescent and adult romantic relationships.
Even if they recognize the abuse, they may hesitate to report it for fear of retaliation or embarrassment.
Possessiveness, controlling behavior, and verbal put-downs are common forms of verbal abuse.
During the preteen and teen years, young people are learning the skills they need to form positive, healthy relationships with others, and it is therefore an ideal time to promote healthy relationships and prevent patterns of teen dating violence that can last into adulthood.
Learn more about characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships.