Solutions to dating violence
Important new efforts to address sexual harassment and teen dating violence are appearing at high schools and colleges across the country.Teachers, faculty members and young people themselves are speaking up like never before on this issue and are eager to stop the violence before it even starts.An important first step in addressing any aggressive behaviors, including sexual harassment and teen dating violence, is recognizing the intersecting factors that can contribute to these dangerous patterns of behavior.Last spring, I had the opportunity to participate in a two-day workshop convened by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC).This working session, sponsored by the Health Resources and Service Administration, and entitled brought together a diverse group of representatives of key sectors involved in bullying research and prevention to explore the risk factors associated with bullying and effective evidence-based models for preventing it.One area in particular that the group coalesced around was the relationship between bullying others in early adolescence and later perpetration of sexual harassment and forms of teen dating violence as students progress through school.The group’s close analysis of this growing body of research revealed a pattern of escalating aggressive and violent behaviors that can start with bullying and homophobic name calling in middle school and ultimately lead to unhealthy dating relationships (including dating violence) in high school and college.In fact, one recent study found that youth who admitted to verbally bullying peers in middle school were seven times more likely than their peers to report physically abusing their dates four years later.
As young people become more aware of their sexuality and begin dating, these power imbalances can take different forms and impact relationships with peers in different ways.
ESCALATING BEHAVIORS SOLUTIONS If bullying is not addressed early on, it can mark the beginning of a violent trajectory that can quickly escalate.
Preventing bullying should be viewed as a strategy for promoting healthy relationships and stopping teen dating violence before it begins.
When we talk about major concerns facing LGBTQ youth, we typically discuss topics like bias-based bullying and harassment or familial rejection and homelessness; and when we talk about violence facing the larger LGBTQ community, we typically discuss hate crimes.
In other words, we talk about the violence facing our community from those outside it, from those who are openly homophobic and transphobic, but what about the violence happening within our community?
Search for solutions to dating violence:
As difficult as it may be to admit, LGBTQ people – including LGBTQ youth – can be and are perpetrators of violence as well as its victims, and too often, that violence occurs in the context of romantic and/or sexual relationships.