Teen dating violence has become a critical issue in the modern day. Particularly, teen dating violence represents one of the forms of intimate partner violence that occurs between adolescents in a relationship. Teen dating violence comprises various forms of behaviors; namely, physical violence, sexual violence, psychological aggression, as well as stalking (Tharp et al., 2017). Millions of teenagers in the United States have been victims of teen dating violence as highlighted in the data produced by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Both male and female teenagers experience teen dating violence, but at different rates. There is evidence that female teenagers are more likely to experience teen dating violence. There is evidence that some teenagers do not report incidents of teen dating violence a factor that explains why researchers and authorities have underrated this form of crime (Lehrer, Lehrer, & Koss, 2013). There have been efforts to provide help to victims of teen dating violence with the core objective of reducing the adverse effects associated with the experiences. The objective of this paper is to explore the impacts of teen dating violence on adolescents.
Teen dating violence is highly prevalent in the United States. Specifically, about 1 in every 11 female adolescents is likely to experience physical dating violence while about 1 in 15 male teenagers endures such forms of dating violence. There is evidence that about 75% of teenagers in high school have a romantic dating relationship with a significant level of intimacy (Stutey, Henninger, & Diaz, 2016). However, many of these adolescents have reported cases of physical and sexual dating violence in their relationships. About 26% of women in the American Society have revealed that they began to experience dating violence before the age of 18. Similarly, about 15% of men have reported that they experienced teen dating violence as the first case of intimate partner violence.
For this reason, it is apparent that teen dating violence is a critical social problem that adversely affects young people. Based on the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, about 18% of teenagers in romantic relationships have been victims of physical violence. On the other hand, 60% of young people have experienced psychological violence in their intimate relationships while 18% have reported experiencing sexual violence (Wolitzky-Taylor et al., 2008). For this reason, it is apparent that teen dating violence has become a widespread problem.
Both current and former dating partners may be perpetrators or victims of teen dating violence. In recent years, experts have sought to understand the main causes of teen dating violence as a way of developing long-term solutions to curb the practice. The Department of Justice has comprehensively centered on creating awareness of the increasing prevalence of teen dating violence (Hautala, Sittner Hartshorn, Armenta, & Whitbeck, 2017). Recent research demonstrates that both girls and boys have been perpetrators of teen dating violence but at different rates.
Moreover, both male and female teenagers experience adverse outcomes associated with teen dating violence. Teen dating violence is a form of intimate partner violence, which is a crime recognized by the law. The National Institute of Justice has paid attention to creating awareness concerning the increasing rates of teen dating violence. Many adolescents experience relationship abuse that is likely to alter their perspectives towards relationships in the future (Walters & Espelage, 2018). Different states have formulated policies that seek to address teen dating violence. In New York State, there have been efforts to expand the order of protection laws with the primary objective of including the victims of teen dating violence. In California, perpetrators of teen dating violence face adverse outcomes by the law. Other states are yet to establish specific laws that govern teen dating violence.
Short-term and Long-term Effects of Teen Dating Violence
There is evidence that teen dating violence registers adverse outcomes on both victims and perpetrators. However, the victims of teen dating violence are likely to exhibit adverse outcomes of the trauma associated with intimate partner violence. Although some effects may be short-term, it is apparent that young people may experience numerous long-term effects associated with teen dating violence (Hautala et al., 2017). In many cases, short-term or acute impacts may include physical pain resulting from physical violence as well as humiliation. Victims of physical violence may sustain injuries due to the harm perpetrated by their partners. Psychological violence causes humiliation to the victim and may lead to retaliation or revenge.
Moreover, teen dating violence adversely affects the stability of the individual and may trigger violent aggressions with the partner (Walters & Espelage, 2018). The relationship becomes unhealthy after the reported incidents of intimate partner violence. Sexual violence may lead to pregnancy or contracting of sexually transmitted diseases. In many instances, perpetrators of sexual violence also humiliate and strip off the dignity of the victim. Some young people who have experienced teen dating violence may result in other behaviors such as binge drinking, consumption of drugs, excessive eating, or other unhealthy eating plans (Lehrer et al., 2013). Other short-term effects may include death in cases of severe physical violence. Some victims of dating violence may sustain serious injuries that may debilitate them in the long-term.
However, the long-term effects of teen dating violence affect the individual during their adulthood. Specifically, teen dating violence may affect an individual’s self-esteem and lead to multiple insecurities in the future. The victims of teen dating violence are likely to develop irrational thinking patterns and blame themselves for the harm perpetrated against them (Wolitzky-Taylor et al., 2008). The destroyed self-esteem introduced multiple insecurities that are likely to affect every aspect of the individual’s life. Some victims believe that all their relationships must comprise a form of dating violence.
Additionally, teen dating violence leads to the inability to establish functioning relationships. Intimate partner violence affects an individual’s ability to develop successful relationships based on trust. It is easier for victims of teen dating violence to have a similar perspective of their future partners as that of the perpetrators of teen dating violence (Walters & Espelage, 2018). Other long-term effects include the development of depression and suicidal thoughts.
Notably, teen dating violence is a source of trauma to the victim, which eventually leads to the development of suicidal thoughts. Some individuals may exhibit these consequences after many years of experiencing teen dating violence. Anxiety and depression also predispose victims to other mental illnesses that eventually reduce the quality of life (Wolitzky-Taylor et al., 2008). In their adulthood, victims of teen dating violence still exhibit unhealthy behaviors such as irresponsible sexual behaviors and the abuse of drugs because of the trauma they suffered.
Other long-term effects include poor performance in school because the individuals are unable to adapt to different situations in their lives. Teen dating violence negatively alters a person’s perspective towards future dating or relationships (Walters & Espelage, 2018). It is possible for female victims to develop a negative concept towards their male counterparts. Teen dating violence destroys the platform for successful development in various dimensions.
For this reason, it is apparent that their experiences completely alter the lives of teenagers in the future. Victims of teen dating violence become susceptible to violent adult relationships (Hautala et al., 2017). The experiences may also trigger an identity crisis that affects teenagers until their adulthood. Individuals who have suffered teen dating violence also report antisocial behaviors, and they are unable to develop a constructive socialization pattern. It is apparent that teen dating violence may destroy an individual’s dreams and goals. Young people have clear dreams and goals that they want to achieve in their adulthood. However, experiencing teen dating violence may make it impossible for young people to focus on achieving such dreams and goals (Wolitzky-Taylor et al., 2008). Some of them lose focus in life, and they experience hopelessness as well as helplessness in their lives.
Teen dating violence is a major problem in American Society. Many teenagers have experienced different forms of violence in their romantic relationships. The statistics on teen dating violence serve to demonstrate the need for effective interventions. Many adolescents who experience teen dating violence register both short-term and long-term adverse effects. In the short-term, victims of teen dating violence may sustain injuries; contract sexually transmitted diseases or become pregnant. The victims also suffer humiliation in the short-term. There are multiple long-term effects of teen dating violence as described above.