Violence Against Women: Teen Dating Violence, Sexual Violence, and Intimate Partner Violence Grant
Chapter 1: Background
Violence against women in the areas of teen dating violence, sexual violence, and intimate partner violence is one of the biggest challenges facing the social institutions in the modern life and has thus become a concern of the justice system, human rights bodies and health organizations. In spite of the normal perception that violence against women in the areas of teen violence, sexual violence and intimate partner violence has gone down incredibly, the fact according to research remains that there is still a high prevalence of violence against women. In fact, the perpetration of the violence has been made even easier with the advent of technology and changes in the family institution. In order to adequately address the issue of teen violence, sexual violence and intimate partner violence it is important to have a clear understanding of the context in which they happen, the methods used to address, reporting patterns and the effectiveness of the programs used for prevention of such violence. One of the e challenges facing institutions that address the prevention and eradication of violence against women is that there is little understanding of the issues surrounding violence against women. For instance, there is a general perception within the society that domestic violence is just a conflict within the family that gets out of control and hence there is no need for special attention. Others have a general perception that if the violence is not physical and that it does not physically hurt the other person there is no need for unwarranted attention. However, these misconceptions lead to a continued perpetration of the same violent activities against women until issues get out of control. This proposal touches on the issue of violence against women in three major areas including teen dating violence, sexual violence and intimate partner violence.
Teen dating violence (TDV) or dating violence or recently termed as teen intimate partner violence is the form of violence perpetrated against a person in or intents to be in a communal or romantic relationship that is naturally personal with the violated teen. Teen dating violence has been recorded in both opposite-sex relationships as well as same-sex relationships as well as between partners that cohabit and non-cohabiting partners. Teen dating violence takes place between the age of 11 and 21 years. Teen dating violence or “tween” dating violence as it is commonly referred, incorporates physical, sexual and emotional abuse and may take different forms. Physical abuse includes grabbing, hitting, punching, use of weapons, slapping and physical intimidation such as throwing objects. Sexual abuse may take a form of rape, pressure to get involved in sex, forceful sexual acts, threats of leaving someone for sex with another person, unwanted touching and rape. Emotional abuse may take a form of insults, rumours, humiliation, isolation from family and friends, attention withdrawal, possessiveness, threats, insults and accusations (Chibber & Krishnan, 2011).
Teen Dating Violence (TDV)
According to a survey done Centre for Disease Control (CDC) labelled Youth Risk Behaviour Survey, 1 in every 10 high school students are experiencing physical violence committed by a partner every year. This finding has remained constant in the last one decade (Tharp, et.al 2011, p.17-61). Previous studies that have dug deeper in multiple forms of TDV have also shown that 25% (1 in every four) teens report incidences of dating violence while between 15% and 40% of those surveyed have perpetrated dating violence. Teen dating violence has been associated with factors such as emotional, social, social-economic, physical and academic variables that culminate into depression, drug and substance use, physical injury, failure in academic performance and low self-esteem. As a result, high school and middle school have been identifies as he most critical periods for implementing dating violence strategies (Fernández-González, L., Wekerle, C., & Goldstein, 2012).
Technology has been frequently used to perpetrate teen dating violence with far reaching effects. Social networks have been used to commit TDV through instant messaging, excessive text messaging, abusive messages and inappropriate posting of personal and emotional details on social sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. One in every four teens in a relationship, have been abused, harassed, called names or put down by their dating partners through cell phones or messaging. Another 19% indicated that, their partners have used internet or cell phones to spread rumors about them. In addition, some teens have used computer software to spy and invade privacy of their partners that has led to emotional and psychological abuse (Stevens, Korchmaros & Miller, 2010). Technology use incorporates threat of violence and fear in that partners have used phones to inflict fear on their partners to an extend that the partners become afraid of receiving calls, responding to emails, text messages or IM with the fear of how they are going to react. 10% of teens surveyed shoed that they have received physical threats through emails, IM chats or text messages.
There exist about three evidence-based primary prevention programs for Teen Dating Violence; however there seems to be significant gaps in the intervention programs of TDV in theory and practice. The existing programs have not been evaluated in the context of high-risk urban environments in spite the fact that the highest prevalence of TDV is recorded in these settings. In addition, the existing prevention programs do not have a community-wide program with the ability to address risk factors using multiple strategies (Fernández-González, L., Wekerle, C., & Goldstein, 2012). In addition, these intervention or prevention programs have not been implemented by public health infrastructure or any other concerned public institution except for domestic and sexual violence movements and community-based organizations. Another challenge with the prevention programs has been that except for survey based estimates, there have been no community level indicators for teen dating violence. There is a need to identify the context of teen dating violence and develop prevention programs that address TDV in its context such high-risk urban areas (Rizzo, 2009).
There are that are commonly applied by community based organizations two models of preventing teen dating violence in a bid to establish the efficiency, cost and sustainability of a wide-ranging approach in comparison with normal practice. The first model Safe Dates includes the standard-of-care model since it is one of the most accepted and widely applied evidence-based programs to prevent TDV in the United States. In addition, it is also due to the fact that the standard practice of prevention of TDV entails the discharge of teacher-administered prevention syllabus all through the school day (Rizzo, 2009).
Henry & Zeytinoglu (2012) wrote an article explaining the context of teen dating violence among African Americans. Teen dating violence does not discriminate, however according to research the African American teens find themselves in conditions that expose them to higher instance of TDV compared to other races. The article did not only address race as the only critical issue in TDV but also other variables such as gender, sexual orientation and family origin. Therefore according to Henry & Zeytinoglu (2012) clinicians or legal experts handling African American teens should consider a number of factors when dealing with both perpetrators and victims. To begin with, the conceptualization and understanding of not only romantic relations but also themselves varies with gender and their expectations and definitions of what puts together a healthy relationship.
According to Henry & Zeytinoglu (2012) it is also important to consider other contextual variables such as the peers of the ten, the family of origin and the community in which the teen lives. During adolescence, the peers are extremely influential in the lives of other teens and as such norms developed within the circles of the peer groups have a considerable effect on the attitudes and behavior of each group member. At times some incidences are considered ‘normal” in the lives of teens have been influenced different experiences in the teen’s lifetime. These events include however small forms the breeding ground for violence among teens. For instance, experiences of emotional, physical or emotional abuse between parents or family members, divorce of parents or incidences of violence in the neighborhood al have effect of how tens perceive relationships and relate with their intimate partners.
On the issue of gender and sexual orientation as one of the contextual variables in teen dating violence, there are a lot of contradictory findings from research with some studies suggesting that being female is a risk factor for victimization. Other studies on the other hand have suggest that being male is a risk factor for being a victim of violence. However, an examination of the instruments and research designs employed in the research tend to lean to the fact that being a female increases chances for abuse. In other researches the context of gender has been put in another context of drugs or alcohol-induced rape, and according to the findings, being female increases chances of sexual victimization. Existing research has also revealed a tendency of studies being exclusively focused on examining teen dating violence among heterosexual populations. This implies that a lot of research has overlooked the act teen dating violence can still take place in the context of any relationship even within homosexual relationships. As a result, there has been a gap in the intervention and prevention programs because impart contextual variables of homosexual relationships have been overlooked. Another gap has been identified through the fact that most of the research on teen dating violence is carried out in schools (Bonomi, 2012). The problem with this situation is that it has ignored the context of high-school dropout rates, which is in actual sense a risk factor for teen dating violence…
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