Violence in Dating Relationships. Dating violence is a significant and widespread social problem. It is expressed in a range of harmful behaviours — from threats, to emotional maltreatment, to physical and sexual aggression. While some forms of abusive behaviour, such as acts of physical assault, could result in charges under the Criminal Code of Canada, others, such as ridiculing or otherwise being verbally abusive, are harmful but not criminal offences.
Dating violence has become an issue of increasing concern to researchers and practitioners over the past three decades. Community support networks for safe dating paper considers how dating violence is defined, what its consequences are, and what can be done about it. For the purpose of this paper, dating violence is defined as any intentional physical, sexual or psychological assault on a person by a dating partner. Footnote 1 Dating partners include both casual dates and individuals in long-term dating relationships.
All three forms of abuse — physical, sexual and emotional — can coexist, or the abuse can be characterized by any one of the three.
Studies indicate that dating violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status or location of residence. It happens in both adolescent and adult relationships. A study in New Brunswick estimated that dating violence may begin as early as age Physical Violence occurs when one partner uses physical force to control the other.
It includes a range of assaults, from pushing, shoving and grabbing to choking, burning and assaulting with a weapon. Each of these acts could result in charges under the Criminal Code. Physical violence is often characterized as moderate or severe.
Footnote 3 Moderate acts of violence are defined as acts for which the risk of permanent harm or injury is low. Footnote 4 These are the most common forms of physical violence in dating relationships.
In contrast, severe violence includes acts for which the risk of permanent or serious injury is high. According to a Canadian study, severe violence is relatively rare.
Footnote 5 It includes behaviour such as hitting a partner with a hard object or assault with weapons. While the distinction between severe and moderate violence is common in the research literature, Community support networks for safe dating is important to remember that the injuries resulting from physical violence depend on many factors, including the vulnerability of the victim e.
While the risk of physical injury may be moderate or extreme, any physical violence carries an accompanying risk of emotional harm. Sexual Violence includes coercing a dating partner to engage in sexual activity, using force to attempt or to have sexual relations, and attempting or having intercourse with a person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol Footnote 6 and is unable to resist or give consent.
Emotional or Psychological Abuse includes insulting or swearing at, belittling or threatening a dating partner. Emotional abuse is common in dating relationships.
Footnote 8 Research indicates that emotional abuse that is denigrating and employs intimidation is more likely to turn physically violent than other forms of emotional abuse. In addition to categorizing the types of dating violence in this way physical, sexual and emotional; moderate and severesociological studies distinguish among the forms of dating violence according to other qualitative characteristics, such as frequency how often violence is used and the motives for its use.
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Johnson, for example, has described four types of dating violence: Intimate Patriarchal Terrorism may be defined as the systematic use of violence and other abusive behaviour to control a partner. Violence in these types of relationships is generally frequent and escalates to severe violence. This type of dating violence is also characterized by attempts to isolate and economically subordinate the abused partner.
Straus estimated that it was present in less than 1. Footnote 11 Johnson argues that men are more likely than women to use this form of violence, but its use by either men or women is rare.
Common Couple Violence is defined by Johnson as an intermittent use of violence against a partner with the intent to control the immediate situation. The use of violence is conflict-based and, while it reoccurs, it does not usually escalate to severe violence. Johnson suggests that this is the most common form of dating violence and that men and women use it to equal degrees. Violent Resistance occurs when violence is used against partners who are themselves violent and controlling.
It is most commonly used against a partner who is using intimate terrorism. Mutual Violent Control identifies violent exchanges in which both partners are violent and controlling. Several studies indicate that dating violence is a serious problem in Canada, but it is still difficult to calculate its exact extent.
Footnote 12 One reason for this is that different researchers use Community support networks for safe dating definitions and questions to measure abusive experiences. Some researchers use legal i. Some researchers ask about acts, and others ask about both the act and the feelings or response the victim had in reaction to it.
Some research considers lifetime exposure to dating violence prevalencewhereas other research looks at dating violence within a specific time period incidence. We do know a number of things about the nature and extent of the problem. Dating violence begins as early as grade school. In other words, girls report higher victimization rates than boys. Footnote 15 In this study, men involved in same-sex and bisexual dating reported higher rates of sexual violence victimization than men involved only in heterosexual relationships.
This suggests that men are being victimized by other men, but further Community support networks for safe dating is needed. Straus surveyed students at 31 universities in 16 different countries regarding the prevalence of violence against dating partners.
He reported that there are high rates of dating violence among university students worldwide. In their study, DeKeseredy and Kelly found that These findings are not matched by those of other surveys. Harned found no difference between men and women in their use of violence. Swan and Snow reported that Women, on average, suffer higher rates of physical Community support networks for safe dating as a result of intimate partner violence than do men.
A number of reasons perpetrator who is responsible for the attack, have been suggested for this, including the not the victim.
Footnote 22 fact that men tend to be physically larger and stronger. One study suggests that the best predictor of being a victim of physical violence is perpetrating it oneself. This is because much violence is bidirectional: Footnote 19 Bidirectional violence may involve retaliation or self-defence. Emotional violence is also widespread in university and college dating relationships. Harned reported that emotional violence is so common in dating relationships as to be considered almost normative.
In a study of Canadian university and college students, DeKeseredy and Kelly found that Factors Community support networks for safe dating contribute to dating violence can be categorized depending on whether they relate primarily to the individual, the relationship, the immediate social context, the influence of peers or the wider societal context. It is a complex interaction of these factors that creates the circumstances under which an individual acts out violently against a dating partner.
Footnote 23 In particular, girls who witness their fathers using violence and boys who witness their mothers using violence are more likely to be violent in dating relationships.
Footnote 24 This has been explained through social learning theory, which argues that we learn to use Community support networks for safe dating through witnessing it and being rewarded or seeing others rewarded for using it. Footnote 25 We need to be cautious to avoid saying that witnessing violence leads us to use violence. Individuals who hold attitudes that support the use of violence to settle conflicts or interpersonal problems are also more likely to perpetrate violence.
Footnote 27 In addition, individuals who have higher levels of anger toward others and who are less willing to control their anger are more likely to perpetrate violence. Footnote 28 Finally, not surprisingly, individuals holding attitudes supporting dating violence are more likely to use it against a dating partner.
Footnote 29 Studies of male violence against women have found that men who have Community support networks for safe dating or patriarchal attitudes toward women and who have beliefs that support interpersonal violence are more likely to be violent in dating relationships. Researchers have also investigated the psychopathology of perpetrators in an attempt to understand dating violence. They have considered the role of personality disorders, exposure to trauma, developmental delays, attachment problems and emotional problems in the use of violence.
While such explanations are important, they run the risk of excusing the behaviour and of failing to view the perpetrator as responsible.