Interestingly, the rates of reported victimization versus perpetration in the state were similar for boys and girls. However, when it comes to severe teen dating violence — including sexual and physical assault — girls were disproportionately the victims.At a recent workshop on teen dating violence, co-sponsored by the U. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS), researchers presented findings from several studies that found that girls and boys perpetrate the same frequency of physical aggression in romantic relationships.This finding was at odds with what practitioners attending the workshop said they encounter in their professional experience.Most of the practitioners in attendance — representing national organizations, schools and victim service community-based agencies — said that they primarily see female victims, and when they discuss teen dating violence with students, they hear that boys are the primary perpetrators. Because teen dating violence has only recently been recognized as a significant public health problem, the complex nature of this phenomenon is not fully understood.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.Consequently, those in the field have to rely on an framework to examine the problem of teen dating violence.However, we find that this adult framework does not take into account key differences between adolescent and adult romantic relationships.Y., high school students who were currently dating. In that 2007 survey, 66 percent of boys and 65 percent of girls who were involved in physically aggressive relationships reported mutual aggression. Twenty-eight percent of the girls said that they were the sole perpetrator; 5 percent said they were the sole victim.
In South Carolina, for example, nearly 8 percent of adolescents reported being physically violent to a romantic partner.
We have already touched on the existing body of research on perpetration and victimization rates. Other studies have also found sex-based differences in rates of sexual victimization and perpetration in adolescent relationships (e.g., O'Keefe, M., "Adolescents' Exposure to Community and School Violence: Prevalence and Behavioral Correlates," 7 (2000): 1-4). This can include, for example, behavioral, biological, social and emotional changes.
Yet there is not a great deal of research that uses a longitudinal perspective or that considers the dynamics of teen romantic relationships. Although most research tends to indicate that more severe forms of physical violence are disproportionately experienced by girls, this is not a universal finding (O'Leary, K. [note 6] Giordano, P., "Recent Research on Gender and Adolescent Relationships: Implications for Teen Dating Violence Research/ Prevention," presentation at the U. Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice Workshop on Teen Dating Violence: Developing a Research Agenda to Meet Practice Needs, Crystal City, Va., December 4, 2007.
As a result, practitioners and researchers in the field tend to apply an adult intimate partner violence framework when examining the problem of teen dating violence.
A split currently exists, however, among experts in the adult intimate partner violence arena, and attendees at the DOJ-HHS teen dating workshop mirrored this divide.