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In 2001-2005, Peggy Giordano and her colleagues at Bowling Green State University interviewed more than 1,300 seventh, ninth and 11th graders in Toledo, Ohio. Wood, "The Emotions of Romantic Relationships: Do They Wreak Havoc on Adolescents?[ Giordano is one of the authors of this article.] More than half of the girls in physically aggressive relationships said both they and their dating partner committed aggressive acts during the relationship. They also report that violent behavior typically begins between the ages of 12 and 18, but only 33% of teens who were in a violent relationship ever told anyone about the abuse.Violent relationships in adolescence put the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence, and a staggering 50% of youth who have been victims of both dating violence and rape attempt suicide. According to a report from the Urban Institute, 43% of LGBT youth reported being victims of physical dating violence, compared to just 29% of heterosexual youth.It took a long time because I think that as little girls we are conditioned to believe that cruelty and love somehow have a connection." Sexual abuse begins by normalizing abusive behavior, at home and in the workplace, when young people begin to date.According to Love Is Respect.org, a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. Nearly 1 in 10 RI high schoolers has already experienced physical dating violence.Fortunately, there is a law in Rhode Island that requires all middle schools and high schools to have a policy and teach everyone about the issue—it’s called the Lindsay Ann Burke Act, and it’s up to all of us to make sure this law is being implemented in our schools!
Although research on rates of perpetration and victimization exists, research that examines the problem from a longitudinal perspective and considers the dynamics of teen romantic relationships is lacking.
If you’re unsure whether or not you’re experiencing dating violence, you can use Love Is Respect’s Power and Control Wheel, a tool that helps explain the different ways an abusive partner can use power and control to manipulate a relationship.
If you need support, you can use this Interactive Guide to Safety Planning to help lower your risk of being hurt by your partner or reach out to chat with a counselor directly.
We do not go from healthy personal and professional relationships to serial sexual violations in just one step.
In a heartbreaking interview with Maureen Dowd for , Uma Thurman stated, “Personally, it has taken me 47 years to stop calling people who are mean to you ‘in love’ with you.