I receive a monthly e-newsletter from The Dibble Institute, a nonprofit organization that helps young people learn how to form healthy romantic relationships now and in the future. The September issue features an article, “One in Three U.S. Youths Report Being Victims of Dating Violence,” that caught my eye.
In fact, I was astonished.
That’s a high rate of violence among teens. Why is this occurring?
About one in three American youth, ages 14-20, say they’ve been victims of dating violence, according to the article, and almost one in three acknowledge they’ve committed violence toward a date. This data comes from new research, collected in 2011 and 2012 from 1,058 youths in the Growing Up with Media study, a national online survey funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study defines teen dating violence as physical, sexual or psychological/emotional violence within a dating relationship.
Girls were almost equally likely to be a perpetrator as a victim of violence: 41 percent reported they were a victim and 35 percent reported they were the perpetrator at some point in their lives. Among boys, 37 percent said they had been on the receiving end, and 29 percent reported being the perpetrator. Twenty-nine percent of the girls and 24 percent of the boys reported being both a victim and perpetrator in either the same or different relationships.
A separate study about the relationship between bullying and teen dating violence was mentioned in the article. The study involved 625 American youths who completed surveys six times from middle school through high school. That study showed that both boys and girls who engaged in high rates of bullying toward other students at the start of the study were seven times more likely to report being physically violent in dating relationships four years later.
You might or might not be aware that Kansas statute K.S.A. 72-8256(a)(2) requires local boards of education to:
• Adopt a policy to prohibit bullying on or while utilizing school property, in a school vehicle or at a school-sponsored activity or event.
• Adopt and implement a plan to address bullying (at the same location as above). The plan must include provisions for the training and education of staff members and students. In addition, upon request, the Kansas State Department of Education will assist schools in the development of a grade appropriate curriculum for character development programs.
• Address cyber bullying in policy and planning.
Schools across Kansas are fighting back against bullying, but as parents, community members, youth leaders, local officials, etc., what are we doing? We all are responsible for ensuring that bullying doesn’t occur in our homes, at community events/activities, during Little League games, and at other events.
As an adult, are you setting an example by not bullying your children, spouse or significant other, or co-workers?
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Are you doing your part to prevent bullying?
Rebecca McFarland is the family and consumer sciences extension agent for Frontier Extension District No. 11, which serves Franklin County. For more information, call her at (785) 229-3520 or email firstname.lastname@example.org