Violence associated with teenage relationships could be abstracted as a set of various violent and abusive behaviors, including sexual and physical assaults, homicides, psychological abuse, kidnapping, harassment, and threats (Theriot, 2012, p. 224). Consequently, dating violence could occur as sexual, psychological, or physical abuse. Physical violence is defined by actions such as being choked, slapped, kicked, hurt with a weapon, pulling hair amongst other actions (Theriot, 2012, p. 225).
Findings from research conducted by the CDC showed that 9. % of females and approximately 9. 1% of males in high schools reported that they had been physically hurt, slapped, or hit on purpose by their partners within the past year (CDC, 2006, P. 534). On the contrary, psychological abuse is described by activities such as making derogatory remarks and sarcasm. (Theriot, 2012, p. 226). Moreover, psychological violence could entail insults, emotional withholding, treating a partner as an inferior individual, cursing at someone, name calling, yelling, and ignoring someone (Theriot, 2012, p. 227).
Emotional and verbal abuses are related to psychological abuse and could portray similar behavior. Emotional and verbal abuse entails the use of gestures and words aiming at humiliating, threatening, or degrading a person (Close, 2005). Since verbal abuse can be easily hidden when compared to physical abuse, psychological abuse prevails as a common type of violence in relationships (Theriot, 2012, p. 227). Identifying psychological violence in teenage relations could be grim since there is lack of signs showing that some form of abuse is happening.
Rather, the enormously damaging psychological abuse effects happen inside, degrading a person’s self-esteem accompanied by a gradual breakdown of the soul and spirit. A new area of interest targeted by recent research is the application of electronic technology to facilitate abusive behavior, particularly psychological abuse. Though this form of research is by far scarce, the prevalence of teens using technology with the aim of committing dating violence seems to be high; hence, it has become an area of concern (Draucker, Martsolf, 2010, p. 234).
According to Draucker & Martsolf (2010), contemporary research applying content analysis and qualitative approaches identi several ways that technology is used to facilitate psychological abuse in a dating relationship. Teens use technology when arguing with their partners, and when controlling or monitoring the whereabouts or activities of a partner, limiting a mate’s contact to oneself. Other similar uses include sending rumors and sharing embarrassing private videos or photos, threatening or demanding, and perpetrating verbal or emotional violence against a partner (Draucker, Martsolf, 2010, p. 235).
Therefore, there is a greater risk associated with psychological abuse since it could prolong into other types of dating abuse. Unwanted sexual behavior, sexual compulsion, and harassment are common types of sexual violence. This type of abuse may include sexually explicit comments or jokes, spying while another person is changing or dressing, unsolicited acts of sex and kissing, verbal pressure, and using deceit to achieve sexual activity (Theriot, 2012, p. 229). According to the Youth Behavior Surveillance Survey conducted by the CDC, about 7. 7% students in the country, had encountered involuntary sexual intercourse (CDC, 2006).
Since violence associated with dating could happen in several manners and involve a broad array of behaviors, it is important to acknowledge and be conscious of characters that define each form of violence. Predictors and risk factors accompanying Violence in courtship Though it may be difficult to establish all elements that contribute to violence in teenage dating, it is important to investigate some of the common contributing elements. Research has availed certain predictive factors that may contribute to violence in adolescent dating. Such predictors include child maltreatment.
A teenager who may have encountered types of child maltreatment is at a larger threat of engaging in dating related abuse ( Wolfe et al. 2009). Other predictors include trauma and existence of domestic violence in homes. Study findings have indicated that former exposure to dating abuse in or outside the family contributes to violence in dating (ouriles, Platt, McDonald, 2011). Understanding the risk factors linked to teenage dating and related violence is a crucial aspect when developing an effective prevention program, which would be effective in identifying particular behavior they occur.
Several risk factors result in violence in dating among teenagers that include behavior variables, psychological, and demographic (such as ethnicity and grade of the partner) variables. Moreover, identifying and acknowledging a specific risk factor is crucial in identifying possible target groups that could benefit from a prevention program or a concentrated effort of new awareness and education aimed at educating about unhealthy versus healthy relationships.
Prevention programs Acknowledging teenage courtship violence as a crucial problem that affects youths unveils a critical need to address the threat through the implementation of effective programs. However, research conducted to evaluate the involvement of schools and perceptions of teenagers on dating indicated that schools involvement in dating violence is by far less than ideal. All participating students stated that their schools had no school policies specifically associated with violence in dating (Gallopin, Leigh, 2009, p. 17).
Moreover, the students expressed their frustration with the schools’ response to violence and abuse in teenage dating and identified such responses as ineffective besides being inconsistent (Gallopin, Leigh, 2009, p. 17). Though such violence awareness and anticipation programs are integral parts of a comprehensive curriculum, there is evidence that not every student receives this form of education. Prevention programs could be either community-based, school-based, or an amalgamation of both programs. Three stages accompany prevention efforts aimed at addressing dating violence.
These stages comprise primary, tertiary, and secondary prevention that vary from anticipation strategies to intervention approaches. Primary intervention initiatives are formulated to decrease the issue before it happens. On the other hand, secondary initiatives are prevention attempts to mediate fairly early after identifying the problem. Tertiary prevention initiatives are designed in response to problems that have already resulted in some harm (Close, 2005, P. 6). Close (2005) conducted a meta-analysis, in which he evaluated dating violence prevention programs.
His findings indicated that primary initiatives were the underlying emphasis on programs designed for college and high-school students. These findings are encouraging since primary programs are considered the most effective at targeting every student besides their effectiveness in lowering teenage related dating violence (Theriot, 2012, p. 230). Through a review of existing programs and research, I would suggest a Safe Dates Program as it stands out by withstanding rigorous evaluations proving to be the most effective compared to others in avoidance of adolescence dating abuse.
Safe Dates prevention Program This program is an evidence-based initiative that should be developed for 9th and 8th-grade students. The program focuses on both secondary and primary prevention of dating violence. The program avails provisions for community and school events to develop an informed curriculum for students. School events that could be exploited by the program include theater productions by peers, poster and essay contests, and a tensession curriculum.
On the other hand, community-based activities that could be exploited by the program include assisting in a crisis line, accepting community service worker training, and engaging actively in support groups (Weisz, Black, 2010). According to Foshee et al. , School interventions provided by the program focuses on the primary prevention stage and interventions to prevent, educate, and reduce dating violence by altering norms linked to partner violence, improving skills in the management of conflicts and reducing gender stereotyping (cited in Weisz, Black, 2010).
Based on research conducted by Foshee et al. , community activities provided by Safe Date Programs function as a complement to activities provided at schools besides creating awareness of the availability of such a service when handling dating violence (cited in Weisz, Black, 2010). Moreover, the Safe Date activities and curriculum targets both genders aiming at reflecting research, which indicates both females and males could be victims or perpetrators of violence in dating relationships ( Weisz, Black, 2010). According to findings by Foshee et al. teenagers under the Safe Date Programs reported considerably decreased dating abuse perpetration and psychological abuse when compared to teens in the communitybased intervention program alone. Moreover, findings indicated that there was a 25% reduction on psychological violence perpetration, a 60% decrease in sexual abuse perpetration, and a 60% decline in abuse committed against a current dating partner while under the Safe Date Program when compared to results from teenagers under community-based prevention programs alone (Cited in Weisz, Black, 2010).
Moreover, additional findings showed that the intervention content from the Safe Date Program contributed to a change in arbitrating variables comprising gender stereotyping, conflict resolution abilities, and dating violence types. The secondary prevention initiatives in the Safe Dates parameters are intended to encourage perpetrators and victims to seek help. Based on findings from Foshee et al. , though teenagers under the Safe Date intervention testified being more conversant with services offered compared to those on community-based programs, there lacked a difference between the groups in relation to their elp-seeking behavior (cited in Weisz, Black, 2010).
Recommendations Though past research has proven Safe Dates as the most effective Preventive programs under school-based interventions, much is needed to perfect on its effectiveness. First, a follow-up research should always be conducted after a duration of time preferably after a year to determine the efficacy of the program on the participants. Results from such a follow-up study would be used to assess whether there has been a decline in dating violence perpetration and related behavior, besides determining whether mediating variables have been maintained.
Such mediating could include violence resolution skills, gender stereotyping, awareness of communitybased interventions, and types of dating violence. A booster intervention should be implemented to evaluate postintervention impacts related to the Safe Dates Initiative. The booster initiative could target on a randomly chosen number of teenagers who had been subjected to the Safe Dates Program or had participated in the original study under the program.
The booster intervention should be briefer than the original program and should aim at reinforcing ideas attained from the original program. Such a booster intervention could be in the form of a telephone call from a health educator or a newsletter. However, it is worth noting that owing to the limits and nature of boosters, boosters could fail in addressing secondary prevention of violence associated with dating. Moreover, such a booster could prompt a reaction and an urge to quit an existing relationship.
Conclusion Research has proved School-based prevention initiatives as the most effective initiatives in addressing violence in dating amongst teenagers. Therefore, every educator should be knowledgeable of every form of dating violence, risk factors, predictors, and any previous case of his or her students to establish whether child maltreatment besides other predictive factors could be present. There is a need to focus on courtship buse before 9th grade in addition to during the high school age to emphasize on the cognizance of abuse related to teenage dating. To conclude the society and schools should contemplate updating curriculums to accommodate emerging trends to achieve students’ needs by assuring academic growth and personal security. Teenage courting violence is a problem, which is best counteracted in partnership with stakeholders to assist bringing up teenagers who acknowledge and are conversant with this crucial topic.