Dating violence in high school
Dating violence in high school is all too prevalent and has lasting consequences.
But schools aren’t doing enough to address the problem.
Research has shown that 17 out of 20 high school girls are physically hurt and four out of 20 are sexually coerced when dating.
These experiences affect young people’s health throughout their lives, as victims of dating violence are at a higher risk of victimization during college and are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Yet, schools often fail to develop clear policies on addressing dating violence and there is a great deal of variability in how schools teach students about healthy relationships and what constitutes abuse.
A recent study in the peer-reviewed journal found that only 35 percent of public school principals who participated in the study addressed dating abuse in violence prevention policies.
According to the CDC’s most recent data on schools’ approach to teaching students about relationships and abuse, 66.4 percent to 98.6 percent of schools across states addressed violence prevention that includes bullying and dating violence.Approximately 18 percent to 95 percent of schools taught students about how to create and sustain healthy relationships.The median across states was 92.6 percent and 73.5 percent, respectively.Nicole Cushman, executive director of Answer, an organization that provides and promotes comprehensive sexuality education, said it is unclear from available national data what the quality of these programs are.“What that data doesn’t tell us is the quality of those conversations and the overall message that is being given,” Cushman said.
“That’s why we go back to what we hear from young people, and they tell us that their concerns aren’t really being addressed — that sex ed feels scary, mechanical, or biological, and it’s really narrowly focused on disease prevention and often very fear-based.