Trayvon Martin and Community Violence

Much has been said about the Trayvon Martin case in central Florida this past month. Much more could be said and even more will probably never be known for sure. What we do know is that Trayvon was walking home from a nearby store when he was approached by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman. Accounts vary as to what happened next, but the outcome left Martin dead from a gunshot wound.

However, what isn’t being talked about so much is the environment where this tragic incident played out.

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Boys and Teen Dating Violence

Stop a second and close your eyes.

Yes really –RIGHT THERE…

…right in your chair

…or on the sidewalk

…or on the train.

Wherever you are, stop a second and think:

When you hear the terms ‘domestic violence’ or ‘dating violence,’ what immediately comes to mind?

For most of us, the image of a bruised and battered woman or teenage girl as the victim of her male partner probably springs to mind. The problem with that is while advocating for female victims and focusing mostly on their needs, an entire group of victims has been ignored – the male victim.

 “In fact, a consistent but counterintuitive finding is that female adolescents inflict more physical violence than male adolescents, with female perpetration rates ranging from 28 percent to 33percent in contrast to male perpetration rates ranging from 11 percent to 20 percent” (ACT For Youth).

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Girls and Teen Dating Violence

What Do Girls Face?

When you look at these posters what kinds of words or thoughts are going through your mind when you read about their situations on each red flag – sadness, fear, humiliation, jealousy, violence, pride, defiance, anger?

All girls could be experiencing violence; these pictures from the Red Flag Campaign show what kinds of situations they might be facing. Maybe they are being put down by a partner, pressured into sex, or even the one hurting their partner.  These girls show that anybody could be the victim – or even perpetrator – of emotional abuse, verbal manipulation, or physical violence. It’s important to understand this in order to get the overall picture of where girls fit into the issue of teen dating violence (TDV).

So where do they fit?

“Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical,

emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner – a figure that far exceeds victimization rates

for other types of violence affecting youth.”–Futures Without Violence

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Teen Dating Violence: An Overview of Boys and Girls

Teen Dating Violence (TDV)

We opened the month in support of Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, and this week we’d like to talk more about how teen dating violence affects girls and boys. Because “among adolescents aged 12 to 21, almost 3 in 10 have experienced violence in opposite-sex relationships,” and according to Womenshealth.gov “in the United States, teens and young women experience the highest rates of relationship violence. In fact, 1 in 10 female high-schoolers say they have been physically abused by a dating partner in the past year.”

The Cycle of Violence

Although teen dating violence is a problem itself, it is helpful to look at violence as a whole to better understand why, how, and when it happens. One way of looking at the subject of violence is through what is called the “cycle of violence,” which looks at the different phases of abuse. This cycle is about controlling another person within the boundaries of a relationship, and it can be physical, emotional, mental, or even financial.

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