Hello EDEQUITY members:
Today we shift the focus of our discussion to dating violence, which often
foreshadows domestic violence. This is a concern for educational
institutions because such relationships affect students in the classroom,
where they may not be able to concentrate on studies or may sit in fear of
violence after class. Here's some background information compiled by the
--In dating violence a person: (1) repeatedly uses or threatens to use
physical force against the other, (2) verbally attacks, demeans or
humiliates the other to control her or him, and/or (3) forces or coerces
the other to participate in sexual acts. Dating violence is not the same as
getting angry or having a fight.
--Surveys of high school and college students indicate that about 28
percent of students have experienced physical violence in a dating
--Studies of date rape indicate that 67 percent of young women reporting
rape were assaulted in a dating situation.
--In Massachusetts alone, in 1998 more than 20 percent of high school girls
surveyed reported experiencing dating violence.
--The Christian Science Monitor in 1996 reported that at least 1 in 8
teenage relationships involved abuse and 15 percent of 14 to 17 year old
girls said their boyfriends tried to force them to have sex.
--While adolescent girls claim they are generally confident that they could
assert their own preferences and stand up to others regarding sexual
issues, this may be an illusion.(superscript: )As Gardner concludes:
"because teenagers don't know what the rules of dating relationships are
yet and don't know what their own boundaries are, it's very easy for girls
to get into [battering] relationships and very difficult to extricate
Is dating violence a problem that you have confronted in your institution?
If so, what did you do? What resources can you recommend to help teachers,
administrators, and parents recognize when students are experiencing this
form of violence and/or to help students avoid or escape such
Susan J. Smith
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