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Another 2016 study by the American Educational Research Association shows that 10-25% of both male and female students in grades nine through 12 experience both physical and verbal abuse from a dating partner.Such statistics are surprising – especially in teenage populations – but they shed light on a complex issue that spans all socio-economic groups and cultures.
“There is an array of emotions in a relationship between two people, all kinds of emotions, and it’s acceptable and understood,” said Marta Pelaéz, president and CEO of local nonprofit Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc.
“But the one emotion that determines and, for me, defines if there’s abuse or not is if one of them is afraid of the other.” Cases of domestic and dating violence often go unreported, but most that are reported are collected from the National Teen Dating Violence hotline.
Texas ranks number two in the nation for call volume to the hotline and San Antonio ranks number four in the state behind Houston, Dallas, and Austin.
According to the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey System data the prevalence of dating violence victimization, defined as being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend during the 12 months before the survey, was higher among 11th-grade males than 11th-grade females.
While findings of teen dating violence rates based on gender remain inconsistent, research suggests that girls seem to suffer disproportionately from severe violence in relationships (i.e., physical and sexual assault).