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Dr. Mirline Lozis-Polynice

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Litterature Review: Courtship Violence and Intervention
by Dr. Mirline Lozis-Polynice   

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Copyright:  May 20, 2006

Thesis statement:
Adolescents that look at the media as a role model for their social behaviors are at higher risk of being involved in dating violence activities.
A- History of Teen-Dating Violence
a) Teen-dating violence definition
b) How long dating violence has been a cultural phenomenon
c) Overview history of teen-dating violence
d) History/ Cultural aspect of the media in the life of the teenagers.
“Co-create a short history of someone experience.”
e) How teen-dating violence and the media overlap and intercept.
B- Demographic/ Prevalence
a) Census: dating violence: nationwide.
b) How many teenagers/adolescents experience dating violence in Massachusetts
c) How prevalence is dating violence.
C- Others Factors that influence Teen-Dating violence
a) Parents and friends
b) Previous victimization
c) Alcohol and substance use
d) Drug use
D- Trends
a) How consistent is dating violence (when it occur)
b) Is teen- dating violence increase or decrease in Massachusetts?
c) The contextual nature of dating violence.
E- Interventions
a) What has been done already?
b) What has worked/
c) What hasn’t worked?


Thesis statement:
Adolescents that look at the media as a role model for their social behaviors are at higher risk of being involved in dating violence activities.
A- History of Teen-Dating Violence
a) Teen-dating violence definition
b) How long dating violence has been a cultural phenomenon
c) Overview history of teen-dating violence
d) History/ Cultural aspect of the media in the life of the teenagers.
“Co-create a short history of someone experience.”
e) How teen-dating violence and the media overlap and intercept.
B- Demographic/ Prevalence
a) Census: dating violence: nationwide.
b) How many teenagers/adolescents experience dating violence in Massachusetts
c) How prevalence is dating violence.
C- Others Factors that influence Teen-Dating violence
a) Parents and friends
b) Previous victimization
c) Alcohol and substance use
d) Drug use
D- Trends
a) How consistent is dating violence (when it occur)
b) Is teen- dating violence increase or decrease in Massachusetts?
c) The contextual nature of dating violence.
E- Interventions
a) What has been done already?
b) What has worked/
c) What hasn’t worked?
Literature Review
Adolescents are exposed to the media everyday, whether through the newspaper, magazines, internet, television, newspaper as well as other forms. It seems that Adolescents that look at the media as a role model for their social behaviors might be at higher risk of being involved in dating violence. This paper will review the history of dating violence, the prevalence and the trends of dating violence. It will discuss how the media can shape teen’s attitudes and behaviors towards their intimate partners. This article will explore the current situation where the media portrays females as promiscuous, sexual objects, needy, dependent, and having an unattainable standard of beauty. The media also portrays males’ roles as domineering, in control, and sex crazed. This paper also will explore some others factors that contribute to teen- dating violence.
b) History of Teen- Dating Violence
a) Teen-dating violence definition
The term dating violence has been difficult to define. First of all, the term "dating" and "courtship" has been used interchangeably. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, date is defined as “an appointment to meet socially at a particular time; especially one with a member of the opposite sex.” And violence is “physical force exerted for the purpose of violating, damaging, or abusing; an act of violent action or behavior.” Some researchers when measuring dating violence include only physical acts of aggression. Others also look at verbal and emotional abuse. And others examine sexual acts of aggression. However, is date rape part of the dating violence continuum (Ferguson, 1998)? Other questions revolve around the parties involved. Is the focus primarily on adolescents dating? College students? Or young adults? Heterosexual or homosexual couples? Although dating is not an age-specific phenomenon, the term "dating violence" is generally used in the context of adolescents (Ferguson, 1998). By imposing these age parameters, “ legal questions and issues arise because many states do not permit dating violence victims to apply for domestic violence restraining orders” (Ferguson, 1998). “The argument is that dating is not including because it is not considered domestic" (Ferguson, 1998).
The National Clearinghouse on Family Violence defined dating violence "as any intentional sexual, physical or psychological attack on one partner by the other in a dating relationship. This definition reflects the belief that all forms of abuse are harmful and should be taken seriously. A wide range of harmful acts can occur in dating relationships that go beyond what people traditionally think of as "serious" abuse, that is, physical or sexual violence. Although both men and women may act abusively, the abuse of women by men is more pervasive and usually more severe." According to the Center for Disease Control (2000), "dating violence may be defined as the perpetration or threat of an act of violence by at least one member of an unmarried couple on the other member within the context of dating or courtship. This violence encompasses any form of sexual assault, physical violence, and verbal or emotional abuse."
It is important to remember that dating violence like many other forms of family violence is the use of violence in order to gain control and power over another individual. Wolfe and Feiring (2000), for example, maintain that dating violence involves any attempt to control or dominate another person physically, sexually, or psychologically which result in harm (either physical or emotional).
b) How long dating violence has been a cultural phenomenon
Teenagers are especially vulnerable as they are at the stage of forming their first intimate relationships and are often unsure of themselves and what to expect in a relationship. According to Erickson, adolescence is a stage of identity crisis, which is considered to be central component of all development. The term identity expresses a mutual relation in that it connotes both a persistent sameness within oneself and a persistent sharing of some kind of essential character with others (Erickson, 1980). “As adolescent grow older, they become preoccupied with efforts to define themselves” (Pillari, 1998). It seems that Adolescents that look at the media as a role model for their social behaviors can be at higher risk of being involved in dating violence activities. This paper focuses on adolescents under the ages of 18 years.
c) Overview History of teen-dating violence
Dating as a social process is a recent phenomenon, emerging only during the early 20th century. Prior to that, dating or courtship was rare, or conducted in groups with greater social control mechanisms. Courtship, unlike today, was viewed as a vehicle towards marriage and marriage was based on economical considerations. The primary goal of marriage was to increase or preserve family assets (Stone, 1979). It was not until the 1920's that young people had the luxury and the leisure time to date as we now know it (Ferguson, 1998).
In 1957, Kanin was the first to identify dating violence as a social problem. He examined male aggression in dating relationships and found that 30% of women surveyed reported experiencing attempted or completed forced sexual intercourse while on a high school date. In 1981 Makepeace, however brought public attention to this problem called "dating violence." Makepeace found that 20% of a sample of college students experienced dating violence, and 70% reported being acquainted with someone who had experienced dating violence. Around the same early 80’s Susan Brownmiller's book Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape, launched the term "date rape." All this was set against the backdrop of the 1970's and the women's movement, which emphasized domestic violence and sexual assaults as serious social problems (Ferguson, 1998 ).
Violence that adults experienced is different then teen dating violence, especially married couple in a domestic violence relationship. There are several reasons for this difference. First, adolescents experience distinctly different developmental tasks in the life cycle. Erik Erickson, a leading developmental theorist, proposed eight major stages of development. Each stage poses a unique "crisis" or challenge for the individual, and the person can move either in a positive or negative direction. Adolescents experience a crisis called "identity vs. role diffusion." In addition to the many physical changes, the adolescent must explore and synthesize a host of new roles, decisions, and other environmental challenges (Vander Zanden, 2000). Adolescence is a time when youths broaden peer relationships, explore sexual feelings, contacts, and roles, formulate self-concept, and explore and challenge ideological beliefs they may have been socialized within their family context (Vander Zanden, 2000).
During the time of adolescence, many teenagers begin to explore opposite-sex interactions. Courtship provides an opportunity for adolescents to rehearse or mimic adult roles, particularly male/female relationship roles, communication, and problem-solving skills in intimate relationships (Suarez, 1994). However, in exploring their newly-founded sexuality and roles with the opposite sex, they may conform to extreme, stereotypical gender roles in which the male assumes the dominant role and the female takes on the more submissive role (Suarez, 1994). In dealing with conflicts, extreme methods such as violence may be used.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, women age 16 to 24 are most vulnerable to intimate partner violence. Women are more likely to be the victims of dating/domestic violence than men, and women in their late teens and early twenties are particularly vulnerable (Family Violence Prevention).

While researchers give us an overview of teen-dating violence history, it does not speak as loudly as the story of a survivor. The following is an excerpt of Melissa’s story. See appendix I
Melissa was the 2002 recipient of the Governor’s Courage Award to End Domestic Violence. In addition to public speaking, full-time employment, and raising her daughter, Melissa volunteers weekly at a local domestic violence shelter where she skillfully responds to hotline and crisis calls, counsels victims, coordinates a resource manual and helps around the shelter. This is Melissa’s story, as told to Joan Faxon, Program Administrator, NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence.
The Oprah Winfrey Show recently featured Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D and used clips from two Media Education Foundation videos to expose the media and cultural forces that pressure young people into experiences of teen dating abuse and violence, either as victims or as perpetrators. On her national syndicated television show that aired on February 28, 2002, Oprah showed footage from What a Girl Wants, produced by Elizabeth Massie for CHC Productions and distributed by MEF, and from Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity, directed by MEF executive director Sut Jhally.
The video segments from What a Girl Wants included interviews with teenage girls who spoke candidly about their experiences of being controlled, bullied, and even abused by their boyfriends, as well as images of boys playing violent video games, as shown in Tough Guise. Oprah’s discussion with her audience and guests centered on the causes of low self-esteem in girls who choose to date “bad boys,” as well as on the pressure boys feel to be tough, in control, aggressive, and violent. When people are presented in their lifetimes with 200,000 acts of violence, 40,000 murders, and one-quarter million sex acts in movies, TV, video games, commercials, and print ads, it is easy to see that sexual violence is normalized by the media. The teen dating abuse theme of The Oprah Show, along with Oprah’s use of MEF videos which are critical of the media, created a powerful commentary to help alert today’s parents to why boys abuse and why girls let them. While girls are encouraged to be passive, silent, and sexy, boys are trained to be “bad” in order to be desirable. The enlightening programming seemed ironic when contrasted with the violent imagery in commercial cutaways that day which interspersed Oprah and Jean’s comments during the broadcast.
d) History/ Cultural aspect of the media in the life of teenagers
When watching televisions teenagers can be exposed to a variety of shows which include videos, sitcoms, advertisement, and movies. Jan Fountain (1998) said “the average teen spends more time watching television than learning in the classroom, watching nearly five and a half to eight hours of television a day. According to American Academy of Pediatric, every year American adolescents view nearly 15,000 instances of sexual material on television (American Academy of Pediatrics in Foundation 1998 ).” Adolescents are quite malleable and because of this the television gives teens a glimpse of sex before they can actually see it and/or experience it for themselves (Myerowitz, in Strasburger1995). Curiosity can be aroused because of the sexual content on television. Studies have shown that people who watch television all the time are more susceptible to believing the television depicts real life issues and concerns (Gerber, Gross, Morgan & Signorielli, in Starsburger 1995). If it is true that teens see television as the real world, than teens may act out what they see on television and believe their behavior is normal. Adolescents listen and recite music they have come to love and enjoy; however the music they listen to may not always portray the “right” message. Even though the style of music varies from one individual to the next, it’s believed that music helps define social and cultural boundaries (Christenson & Roberts, in Strasburger 1995). Teens listen to music played on MTV and BET with much enthusiasm, but when watching a video with sexual or violent images, it seems to increase their excitement (Zillmann & Mundorf, in Strasburger 1995).
It is believed that music is more influential when images are added to it (Hendren & Strasburger, in Strasburger 1995). This is a concern since teens on average spend two hours a day watching MTV (Sun & Lull in, Strasburger 1995). The images on the videos may not always be realistic and it may provide teens with the wrong message. Sexual intimacy appeared in more than three-quarters of the music videos was implied not overt (Baxter,DeRiemer,Landini,Leslie,& Singletary, in Stasburger 1995). Furthermore, women are oftentimes seen on these videos half naked. This also brings across the wrong message.
Ticket sells soared through the roof with the smash teen hit of American pie. Addressing issues of acceptance to masturbation to the rites of passage (celebration on prom night.) Today the movies that are being produced show more sexual content, than in the past decades. Due to the change of sexual content an adolescent is exposed to this more often. There are even some forms of this in cartoons. “Movies have become increasingly explicit in depicting sexual themes (Greenberg, 1987).” (Strasburger, 1995, p.47).
Sex is a prevalent topic for maturing teens. Since teenage years, are a time of curiosity about sexuality and ones body, teens will turn to any available resource, and the media seems to be one of the most influential, television in particular. Consequently, 98% of Americans have television sets and 60% of those have cable, also 77% have a VCR (Nielsen Media Research, in Strasburger 1995). Exposure to sexual material is not always helpful because the consequences of sex are rarely discussed (Haffner & Kelly in Strasburger 1995). Television can make sex appear better than it actually is; furthermore, it may not provide adequate information on how sex can be dangerous or how to have a healthy sexual relationship.
e) How teen-dating violence and the media overlap and intercept
In a 1987 study by Leming, almost 80 percent of the 11-to-15-year-old participants agreed that their interpretation of a song comes from the combination of listening to the lyrics and watching the music video, then making their own decisions. According to National Violence Study in 1996, adolescents receive many messages about how males and females should behave, and how intimate relationships should be conducted from the media. Much of the content in movies, videos, song lyrics, comics and television shows are violent, and contain stereotyped and negative images not only of gender roles, but also of different racial and ethnic groups. On television alone, 57% of programming contains violence.
Many studies have found a link between depictions of violence and stereotyped gender roles in the media with increased rates of interpersonal aggression (Donnerstein, 1983; Linz, 1985; Malamuth, 1981). Another study looked directly at sexual connections between the audience and music video watching with interesting results. Hansen and Krygowski (1994) found that music videos with male or female sex-object themes often altered judgments made about similar images in television commercials watched later. An earlier 1990 Hansen and Hansen study had also suggested that more arousing music and visuals involving sex elicited more positive sexual emotions (Hansen and Hansen 1991).
Johnson- Reid explored the effects of exposure to nonviolent rap music videos on perceptions of teen-dating violence. The study included 60 participants African American from an inner-city of North Carolina youth club, 1/2 of them watched 8 selected rap videos that contained images of women in sexually subordinate roles and read a vignette that involved teen-dating violence. The other 1/2 was not exposed to the video. The findings indicated that female respondents who were exposed to the sexually subjective videos reported greater tolerance of teen-dating violence than those not exposed, while male tolerance did not vary much between groups.
Adolescents are exposed to a variety of shows when watching televisions, which include sitcoms, videos, advertisement, and movies. Jan Fountain (1998) reported that “the average teen spends more time watching television than learning in the classroom, watching nearly five and a half to eight hours of television a day. Every year American adolescents view nearly 15,000 instances of sexual material on television (American Academy of Pediatrics in Foundation 1998).” The extra time teens spend watching movies and playing video games on average, in a week span they spend 35-55 hours in front of a television (Klein, in Strasburger 1995). Adolescents are quite malleable and because of this the television gives teens a glimpse of sex before they can actually see it and/or experience it for themselves (Myerowitz, in Strasburger 1995).
B- Demographic/ Prevalence of Dating Violence:
a) Census: teen-dating violence nationwide
A study with 8th and 9th grade male and female students found that a quarter had been victims of nonsexual dating violence and 8% had been victims of sexual dating violence (Foshee et. al., 1996). In a nationally representative study on violence in adolescent romantic relationships conducted by the Department of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, researchers found that psychological and minor physical violence victimization are common within such relationships (Halpern, Oslak, Young et. al., 2001). For example, 32 percent of the adolescents disclosed some type of violence in the 18 months preceding the interview. Twelve percent of the respondents reported being the victims of physical violence, usually accompanied by psychological violence (Halpern, Oslak, Young et. al., 2001).
b) How may teenagers/adolescents experience dating violence in Massachusetts
According to a 2001 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 12 boys in Massachusetts high schools have been involved in a violent dating relationship during high school. Both boys and girls can be victimized by dating violence, but 95% of victims are girls. Males also report experiencing sexual violence. Eight to 16% of college males report being pressured and/ or forced to have sexual intercourse with a dating partner (Anderson (1998). When young people are asked about their experiences with emotional and psychological abuse, 96% say they have experienced this in a dating relationship (Johnson-Reid 1998).
d) How prevalence is dating violence (Who is affected and how common is affected)
Sugarman and Hotaling reported in a review of the dating violence literature that 39.3% of females and 32.9% of males report being violent in their dating career (Sugarman 1987). Some research found that more females reported engaging in violent behavior in dating relationships. In one study, 51% of high-school females reported using violent behavior towards their partners, in contrast to 20% of males (Avery 1985). Males are two to four times more likely than females to use weapons against a dating partner, and to use physical violence that results in serious injury (Foo 1995).
Silverman and colleagues (2001) found that approximately 20% of girls reported an abusive dating experience, and that date violence and rape was associated with increased risk of substance use (4–5 times greater than girls not abused), unhealthy weight control behaviors (3–4 times greater), sexual risk behaviors (2–8 times greater), and suicidality (7–9 times greater). Once again, boys were not included in the analyses.
Thompson, Wonderlich, Crosby, and Mitchell (2001) also used the Youth Risk Behavior Survey to collect data on 2629 high school females attending public schools in North Dakota. Date violence was assessed by asking, "Have you ever had a dating situation become violent with hitting or force used?" Approximately 14% of girls in the study reported violence on a date. Females who reported a violent dating situation were three times as likely to engage in purging behavior, and nearly two times more likely to use diet pills for weight control than females who did not report a violent dating experience. Unfortunately, high school boys were omitted from this study.
d) Forms of violence behaviors
Rowe (1993, pp. 2-3) identifies an array of abuse that can occur within the context of dating: “*Physical Abuse: This includes aggression such as kicking, biting, choking, hitting, beating up, threatening to use a gun, knife, or other weapons. *Emotional or Psychological Abuse: This encompasses any verbal or nonverbal forms of communication intended to cause psychological pain. These can include: yelling, screaming, insulting and cursing, public humiliation and intimidation, treating one's partner in an inferior manner, controlling the partner's behaviors, threatening, and manipulating with false accusations. *Economic Exploitation: This comprises behaviors such as stealing, damaging or destroying property, threatening to take money, or forcing partner to pay solely for items that are to be shared. *Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Use of drugs and alcohol are often associated with dating violence. An example is a partner being forced to ride in a car with a driver under the influences of substances while on a date. *Unwanted Sexual Contact: This involves forced sexual activity, which may include a partner engaging in sexual activity for fear of being physically hurt.” Threatening to use physical and sexual violence was also a form of intimidation used. Acts of force included violence behaviors like twisting their arms, pinching bodies, shoving, and poking with sharp instruments. In their study, one girl had decided to not engage in any sexual activity with her new boyfriend for the first 3 months of her dating relationship. However, one evening her boyfriend took her to an isolated park and threatened to abandon her overnight in the park, which were several miles from her home. She had sex with him not because of her personal choice rather, she was fearful of placing herself in danger (Larkin & Popaleni, 1994).
In terms of psychological and sexual violence, it is helpful to look at Kelly's (1987) conceptualization of sexual harassment and dating violence as a part of the continium of male violence. Kelly (1987) argues that there is a range of sexual violence that serves to diminish and intimidate women and to reinforce male control and dominance. Larkin & Popaleni (1994), using Kelly's conceptualization, argue that acts of diminishment, intimidation, and force all play a role in objectifying the victim (typically female). Larkin & Popaleni (1994) found that acts of diminishment included boyfriends criticizing their girlfriends' choice of hairstyles, use of makeup, as well as their overall appearance, looks, and physique. Acts of intimidation included boyfriends using surveillance tactics to monitor their girlfriend's movements, behavior, and activities. In their study, adolescent girls talked about how their boyfriends spied on them, read their diaries, and telephoned them incessantly to verify their whereabouts.
D- Others Factors that influence teen-dating violence:
a) Parents and Friends
Parents play a critical role in influencing adolescent dating behaviors. Parents model behaviors, values and attitudes regarding the management of conflict in intimate relationships (Patten, 200). Children, especially males, who have been exposed to family violence, are more prone to become aggressive within their relationships with peers and romantic partners later in life (O’keefee 1997, Simons 1998). Exposure to community violence has also been linked with increased risk for involvement in dating violence (Malik 1997).
Arriaga and Foshee studied adolescents that were physically violent towards their dating partner and those that were victims of physical violence from their partners. Their primary task was “to compare the relative strength of two antecedents: having friends in violent relationships and having parents who are violent toward one another.” They were interested in which condition friend and inter parental dating violence are strongly linked. Parental and Friend Behavior as Predictors of Adolescent Dating Violence was divided in different subtitle.
They also reported that interdependence theories are already supported by others literatures documenting adolescent behavior and the influence that parents and friends are on them. According to Arriaga and Foshee, there are different hypothesis about children that were witness to violence or parental behavior may encourage them to become violent. Although there is support for the notion that violence breeds violence (Wisdom, 1989). According to Foshee and Arriaga studies, others studies concluded that the effect of parental influence may not be a lot but there is to anticipate that parents who are violent toward one another is modeling dating violence in their adolescent children.
Arriaga and Foshee reported that “the idea that parents shape their children’s behavior may seem obvious”. However, peers may be an even more powerful source of influence (Harris, 1995), particularly on deviant behaviors (Kandel, 1996). They also reported that some theories describes that friends who have experienced dating violence encourage dating violence and may show other friends that dating violence is acceptable. However, there may be also a selection process; once in a violent relationship, an adolescent may be attracted to, and seek out, friends who are also in a violent relationship (Bauman & Ennett, 1996).
In order for Foshee and Arriaga to assess the effect of having friends in violent relationship versus observing parents hit one another, they have created a longitunal design with two measurement occasions (or times). They also explore mechanisms linking friend-dating violence and inter parental violence, and gender differences. To measure victimization, friend-dating violence and inter parental violence, Arriaga and Foshee asked their participants different questions and the responses were summed and recoded responses.
Arriaga and Foshee found that “friends seem to be more influential than parents in shaping standards of acceptable dating behaviors during adolescence (2004)”.

b) Previous Victimization
The correlation between teenager or adult dating violence can not be ignored. Rhea, Chafey, Dohner and Terragno, 1996 reported that males, who have been exposed to early victimization, including experiencing child physical and or sexual abuse as well as witnessing domestic violence within the family, may be more prone to adapting to these negative experiences by using externalizing behaviors. The latter may include violence, aggression, behaviors like lying, truancy drug used, stealing. Additionally, early association with the aggressor stance may serve to provide a sense of protection from experiencing repeated victimization, regardless of the actual threat (Thormaehlen & Bass-Feld, 1994). Previous victimization, including experiencing and /or witnessing violence in childhood, has also been linked with future victimization (American Medical Association, 2002; Humphrey & White, 2000).
In fact, Wordes and Nunez (2002) described past sexual abused in childhood as an accurate predictor of experiencing future sexual and dating victimization. Fisher, Cullen, and Turner (2000) noted similar findings. While past victimization does not guarantee future victimization, previous victimization, including lack of control over one’s body, sexuality, and choices, may set relational norms that become acceptable in future intimate relationships. This may be particularly true for females who, in contrast to their male counterparts, are thought to adapt to early victimization by internalizing the trauma (Rhea, Chafey, Dohner, & Terragno,1996). As a result of this internalization, outcomes of previous abuse, including depression, decreased self-esteem, and substance use, may influence future partner selection and acceptance of abusive behaviors. Furthermore, if previous victimization, especially in childhood, went unrecognized and/or unreported, especially by someone charged with their care, an adolescent may feel her victimization is unimportant and her abuse of little consequence.

C) Alcohol and substance use
Alcohol and substance use are another risk factor for dating violence (O’Keefe 1986). In one study by College Student Journal, 33% of the adolescents reported that both partners were drinking at the time of the violent incident, and 25% reported use of other controlled or illegal substances (Mathews, 1984). According to the law in the United Stated, it is illegal for adolescents under the age of 21 to use alcohol. It has been cited as one of the major risk factors for people to experience dating violence and sexual victimization (Abbey, Zawacki, Buck, Clinton, & Mcauslan, 2001). It is important to note that while alcohol has been strongly linked to dating violence and other violent crimes. According to Abbey, alcohol is a correlation with the victim but not a causation. Alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant that decreases inhibition and impairs the judgment of users (Abbey, Zawacki, Buck, Clinton, & Mcauslan, 2001).
For females, intoxication, especially binge drinking, which is defined as four or more drinks in a row for women and five or more drinks in a row by men (Wechsler, Lee, Kuo, & Lee, 2000), may decrease awareness of a partner’s actions and advances as well as make it more difficult to stop sexual advances that have gone too far (Abbey,2002). In their study of sexual victimization on college campuses, Fisher, Cullen, and Turner (2000) noted that drinking enough alcohol to get drunk was significantly related to experiencing sexual violence. Similar results were described by Frinter and Rubinson (1993), who noted that over half of the female sexual assault victims reported using alcohol at the time of the crime, with 20.2% reporting their judgement was moderately impaired and 19% reporting their judgement was severely impaired. Alcohol use and intoxication is also signifi-cantly related to the perpetration of sexual violence (The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, 2002). Among male users, intoxication has been linked with misinterpretation of sexual cues as well as overestimation of a women’s sexual interest, which may ultimately result in in-creased aggression and forced or coerced sex (Abbey & Harnish, 1995). Belief in the myth that alcohol use increases sexual arousal among both parties may also serve to legitimize and excuse sexually aggressive and coercive behaviors that would not otherwise be acceptable (Abbey, Zawacki, Buck, Clinton, & McAusan, 2001). Furthermore, despite advances in neutralizing gender-based roles and stereotypes, preservation of outdated beliefs that dichotomize women into categories of “good” and “bad” may lead would be
perpetrators to view women who drink alcohol as sexually available and appropriate targets compared to their non-drinking counterparts.
d) Drug use
While victims may be sexually assaulted after knowingly ingesting illegal drugs, such as marijuana, heroin, and cocaine, they may also be unknowingly drugged by so called “date rape drugs” (Drug Enforcement Agency, 2001). Two of the more common date rape drugs, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and Rohypnol, are central nervous system depressants that when dissolved in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages become odorless and tasteless. Once ingested, a person becomes disoriented, confused, and may be rendered unconscious for several hours (Drug Enforcement Agency, 2001). In an effort to reduce the incidence of drug-facilitated rape, pharmaceutical companies recently included a color additive to the drug Rohypnol. In addition to similar preventative measures, criminalization of drug facilitated rape is also en-forced under the Drug-Induced Rape Prevention and Punishment Act of 1996 and the Hillory J. Farias and Samantha Reid Date-Rape Prohibition Act of 2000. However, despite these efforts, sources of date rape drugs remain plentiful both in the United States, internationally, and on-line. As with other substances knowingly or unknowingly ingested by victims, memory impairment, a common side effect of the medication, may make it difficult to remember and identify perpetrators of the crime.
D Trends
E- Interventions
a) What has been done already?
Interventions that have been done already provide education and training in effective relationship and conflict management strategies have already showed promise for reducing dating violence among adolescents, McNutty RJ, Heller DA, Binet T. 1997.)
In 1998, the OJJDP Annual Report on School Safety identified it as a model program based on evidence of attitude changes among youth about the use of violence in dating relationships and on the program’s focus on developing positive relationship skills in participants, (OJJDP. Annual report on School safety, 1998.)
The Boston's Dating Violence Intervention Project (DVIP) has been recognized as an outstanding program by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services and the National Department of Education. DVIP's programs include assemblies and performances built around the theme of respect and three-session courses in which former victims and abusers train students to identify abusive behaviors, engage in respectful communication, and manage conflict. Other initiatives include weekly counseling groups for male students who abuse or threaten a female peer, training for school staff and police officers, and a 24-hour hotline and counseling service. The curriculum has been used in other Massachusetts communities as well as in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, (Palmer-Castor, J. Teen dating violence intervention and prevention project evaluation report (1997-98.)
The Safe Dates Project targets 8 th and 9 th graders and is a combination of school (a ten-session curriculum, a play and a poster contest) and community components (training for service providers, a crisis line and a support group). Initial evaluations of the program show a 25% reduction in self-reported psychological abuse perpetration, 60% reduction in sexual violence perpetration and 60% reduction in violence perpetrated against a current dating partner, Foshee VA, Bauman KE, Arriaga XB, Helms RW, Koch GG, Linder GF, 1998.)

Appendix I

Melissa’s story:

"Each day I wake up and I don’t know exactly how I am going to feel. My emotions are constantly at battle and I am uncertain about what the outcome will be. I go from feeling very angry, to guilty, to weak, frustrated and powerless. I know I will make it through the day and wake in the morning to face it all again. It is a part of me and it is who I am. I ask myself why sometimes. Why me, why anyone? I know without a doubt, when I fall asleep at night, that I cannot keep this quiet. If I do, it makes it seem that this is okay to hide, that we shouldn’t talk about it. That it is not our problem. I need to say it out loud. I am a survivor. It is easier to say that, but in order to become a survivor; I first had to be a victim. What happened, although not fair, happened to me. It is happening to teens everywhere. It is real and it is a crime.
I first met my abuser when I was sixteen and I was attracted to him because he was older and no one knew him. He was mysterious and exciting to me. At first he began innocently asking where I was going. That soon changed to him becoming controlling and jealous, demanding to know where I was and whom I was with. My parents and friends were more annoyed than I was. They saw it as a warning sign; I saw it as someone who cared about me. As his behavior began to get worse I knew that it was not appropriate, but I did not see it has harmful. The minor arguments did not last long. He didn’t belittle me. I still felt completely in control.
The next stage was worse, not only for me but for those who loved me and cared about me. They were losing me. My abuser had started to build a fence around me. He would embarrass me in front of my family and friends and foolishly I would defend him. I would argue with them and he would point out that no one was on my side. He would instigate arguments with my family and intimidate my friends.
He began to ruin my special occasions. He did not want to go to my prom and he didn’t want me to go. I decided to go anyway and about five minutes before I was supposed to leave he started saying “how can you go, you know I don’t want you to go.” I went anyway and tried to have a good time. Then he showed up at the door, threatened my date and I left the prom with my abuser. My high school graduation was one of the worst days of my life. I spent the night before graduation at a party with friends. When I got home I had a good discussion with my parents. The next morning I was feeling great as I began to get ready for my special day. Then he called me; he was screaming so loud my mother could hear his voice through the phone. “Where did you go last night? I never told you that you could go out. I hate you, you’re a liar…I’m not coming.” I was crying. I was embarrassed. My parents and I fought. How could he ruin another day for me?
His controlling behavior progressed throughout the summer of 1999. By the end of the summer the relationship with my parents was ruined and I almost never saw my friends. He had convinced me that everyone was against us. He convinced me that no one was on our side. From that time on it was about us. To be honest it made me feel pretty good that I was a part of something as I had lost everything I had with others. I didn’t have anyone to turn to……my abuser had successfully isolated me.
I turned seventeen and started college in the fall. Three days after school began I moved out of my house and in to an apartment with him. My parents were disappointed and my friends thought I was absolutely crazy. Within three weeks of moving in together, he successfully kept me from being able to attend school. He would take the car when I needed to go class. I would set the alarm for my morning classes and he would turn the alarm off. When he picked me up at school, he would create a scene in the parking lot. It was not worth the effort to continue going to class.
I cannot remember the first time I was physically assaulted. I know there were previous incidents of abuse, but October of 1999 is the first time I remember him hitting me. We had enjoyed a great day together and he suggested we stop by a party that my friends were having. Once at the party I was thrilled to be with my friends again and started talking with them and paying less attention to my abuser. At one point I went over to a male friend of mine and nudged him with my elbow. My abuser went crazy. He grabbed my arm and started yelling at me in front of everyone. He called me a whore and slapped my face. Before I could feel the pain or the embarrassment, I experienced shock. I didn’t know what to do. I just sat on the couch and stared. He did not want to go home yet and continued on as if nothing had happened. Later in the evening I heard some people laugh about the incident. I wanted to die.
The arguments and the physical abuse escalated. I was working as a waitress and the regular customers knew that I couldn’t cook. One evening a male customer who frequented the restaurant brought me a copy of the book Cookbook for Dummies. In the car on the way home my abuser went ballistic because he felt that a man shouldn’t be bringing me a book. He was speeding and driving erratically and I was scared for myself and the others on the road. Once home he took me in the back alley and screamed and emotionally tore me to shreds. He brought me in the house, kept me up all night and beat me. That was the day I knew I had no control. That was the first day I feared for my life.
Holidays were awful. While I was remembering the wonderful gatherings with my family had over the years, my abuser continued to batter me. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I tried to leave him for the first time. I called my Uncle to come and get me, but when he arrived my abuser cried and told me he loved me and that he felt bad. He said I was good for him. I was sad, and feeling like there was no place for me to go anyway, so I stayed.
Christmas Eve, after a gathering at my grandparents, I went back to the apartment and he kept me up all night beating and belittling me. He could not stand me being around other people. I do remember sitting on the couch thinking of what I would be doing if I were home right now with my family. We had so many wonderful traditions….I felt so alone.
A few months later, after continued abuse, I found out that I was pregnant. I was horrified. How could I bring up a baby living like this? He had stopped working months ago and I was the one supporting us. He took my paycheck and spent it on anything he pleased. I had no financial independence. Still, I stayed.
I felt like my abuser owned my soul. My mother picked me up to visit my Uncle who had been hospitalized. We had a civil lunch together. She dropped me off and I said good-bye. He was waiting for me; he started to hit me, spit on me and began pushing me up the stairs. My neighbor threatened to call the police. My abuser stopped in fear for himself, but not for our unborn baby or me.
Shortly after we moved into his mother’s house. I was confused by this move because he had always expressed hatred for her. Still I found some sense of relief, I thought I would be safe. The intensity and frequency of the violence increased at a much quicker rate that it ever had before. I was uncertain of my fate and became very fearful. I did anything he said because I did not want him to hurt our baby. He constantly accused me of preposterous things. He harassed me at work. When I was home, I barely left the bedroom. No matter where I was or what I did, I was unsafe. During the nonviolent moments I would talk about the baby. The more I talked about the baby, the angrier he got. I think part of my mindset during my pregnancy was that he couldn’t feel this baby like I could. I hoped that once she was born, he would love her like I did. I thought his violence would stop.
I turned 18 and three weeks later my daughter was born. Peace lasted only a week. He was jealous of the time I spent with her. He wasn’t interested in spending time with her. He would take off for the day and come back and cause trouble at night. One night, when my daughter was one month old, he hit me while she was in my arms. During prior months I had not even tried to reason with him, but this time I was outraged. I was crying and screaming, “don’t you ever hit me when I have her or I will leave.” When the argument was over I was so upset. I could not even see myself as enough of a person to say, “don’t hit me or I’m leaving.”
It happened again. He smashed his head against mine while I was holding her. His mother was right in the other room. She had listened to months of verbal and physical abuse and did nothing to stop it. I didn’t know how much more I could take. A few weeks later my father offered to take the baby overnight to give me a break. I came home from work and my abuser kept me up all night accusing me of outrageous things and making the worst threats I had ever heard. When it was all done, and it was almost morning, he forced me to have sex with him. I felt so disgusting. I couldn’t take one more night of this. It had happened so often it was becoming “normal” to have a night like that. As soon as my father came to bring my daughter back to me I said what I had needed to say for so long, “I want to come home.”
It’s not easy to cut ties with someone, especially someone who controls and intimidates you, but it can be done. In order to keep my daughter and I safe, I have an order of protection against him. He has violated the order, but it is important for him to see that his actions are no longer being tolerated. I still carry some type of fear with me and I always will, but I am free. I have safety. It is something that I may have taken for granted before all this happened. Even as I look in the mirror today, I still find it hard to see myself as a battered woman. Before I met my abuser, I would never have thought that a young woman, from an upper-middle class family, could find herself in such a situation. I did not see myself as a potential victim of domestic violence. Anyone can become a victim, including teenagers. It is imperative that we recognize the need to openly discuss the seriousness of this crime.”


8 Weeks or ¼ of the school year

Required for all freshmen

Will occur daily for a regular class period of roughly 50 minutes

WEEK 1 Introduction
• Survey students to find out:
o What they know
o What they want to know more about
o Where their information comes from
o Give them example dating scenarios to measure their attitudes
• Tell them the resources that are available to them
• Tell them the goal of the program will be a magazine that they make

WEEK 2 The Media
• Show them the video “Killing Me Softly”
• Teach them to think critically about the media’s goals and messages
• Have them look for 2 ads that show stereotypical gender roles, depict women with unrealistic body types or portraying unattainable standards of beauty
• Have them watch 1 hour of television and report what they watched and what they noticed about gender roles

WEEK 3 Gender Roles
• Students will find someone in a nontraditional role/job for their gender and interview them
• Discuss sexual harassment in school and the workplace
• Discuss the cultural ideals of Marianismo and Machismo
• Discuss sports, aggression, competitiveness

WEEK 4 Communication and Healthy Relationships
• Teach and discuss effective communication skills using role playing
• Teach and discuss sustaining healthy relationships
• Discuss jealousy, possessiveness, control, violence in relationships
• Discuss sexual orientation

WEEK 5 Begin Magazine Prep
• Have students find sponsors for the magazine
• Have students send letters to parents and business asking for donations for the magazine
• Brainstorm ideas of what the include in magazine

WEEK 6 Gather Info for Magazine
• Pick the most interesting interviews
• Pick good and bad advertisements
• Students write personal essays

WEEK 7 Finalizing Magazine
• Students format and make a template magazine
• Send magazine to printers
• Final thoughts/discussions of students

WEEK 8 Wrap up
• Students distribute magazine
• Make magazine available in nurse’s office, library, at PTA meetings, on the Lawrence High School website.
• Evaluate program/class using post-program survey.

Week 1 Curriculum

• Class Introduction

- Teacher introduction
- Student introductions’Play “Thruths and a Lie” (Peace Game)

• Class Requirements
- Homework 30%
- Class Participation 30%
- Magazine (Final Project) 40%


• Distribute Resources and information
• Discuss the topic openly
• Distribute Survey for homework


• Watch video on teen dating violence
• Discussion following video


• Discuss results of surveys


• Open discussion on topic of student’s choice



• Discussions about critical thinking regarding the media
• Deciphering the difference between the images in the media and real life
• Unattainable beauty ideals
• Self Esteem and the way the images in the media make us feel
Homework: Look through magazines and bring in two ads.


• Discuss the ads the students bring in
• Find themes in the ads such as stereotypical gender roles, non traditional roles, unattainable beauty ideals, etc.
• Discuss how these images effect teens
• Ask for personal opinions from the kids ( group discussion)


• Video “Killing Me Softly”

Homework: Watch one hour of television and look for stereotypical gender roles, violence, aggression, sex and unattainable beauty/ pressures to be beautiful.
Write a two page essay on what you saw and your reactions to it.


• Group discussions on violence and sex in the media:
- Acts of violence
- Sexual representation
- Stereotypical gender roles


Discussions about movies

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Evaluation of Safe Dates, an adolescent dating violence prevention program. Am J Public Health. (1998); 88(1): 45-50. For more information contact: Vangee Foshee, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; 919-966-6616 or 919-966-6353, E-mail:

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———.1991. Constructing personality and social reality through music: Individual differences among fans of punk and heavy metal music. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 35 (3): 335-50.

Hansen, Christine Hall, and W. Krygowski. 1994. Arousal-augmented priming effects: Rock music videos and sex object schemas. Communication Research 21 (1): 24-47.

Leming, James. 1987. Rock music and the socialization of moral values in early adolescence. Youth and Society 18 (4): 363-83.

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OJJDP. Annual report on school safety, 1998. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. For more information on this program contact: K.D. O'Leary, Department of Psychology, State University of New York; (516) 632-7852, E-mail:

O’Keefe NK, Brockopp K, Chew E. Teen dating violence Social Work (1986); 31:

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Pillari, Vimala. (1998). Human Behavior in the Social environment: the developing person in a holistic context California: Brooks.

Simons RL, Lin KH, Gordon LC. Socialization in the family or origin and male dating violence: a prospective study. Journal of Marriage and Family (1998); 60(2): 467-478.
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