Adolscents and adults are often unaware how regularly dating violence occurs.In a nationwide survey, 9.8 percent of high school students report being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to the survey.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.
According to the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, approximately 10 percent of adolescents nationwide reported being the victim of physical violence at the hands of a romantic partner during the previous year. The rate of psychological victimization is even higher: Between two and three in 10 reported being verbally or psychologically abused in the previous year, according to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.As for perpetration rates, there are currently no nationwide estimates for who does the abusing, and state estimates vary significantly.
Violent words and actions are tools an abusive partner uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner.