Dating violence is when one does harm to their partner. Violence can be committed or threatened. Following are forms of dating violence:
- sexual assault
- physical violence
- verbal abuse
- emotional abuse
Scope of the Problem
Violence when dating is not rare. An estimate of this problem varies. This is because studies and surveys used do not use the same measures. Some findings are as follows:
- amount of nonsexual, courtship violence ranges from 9% to 65%-this depends if threats and emotional or verbal aggression were included in the definition
- study of 8th and 9th grade male and female students indicated that 25% had been victims of nonsexual dating violence and 8% had been victims of sexual dating violence
- average rate for nonsexual dating violence is 22% among male and female high school students-32% among college students-females are somewhat more likely than males to report being victims of violence
- national study of college students shows 27.5% of the women surveyed said that they had suffered rape or attempted rape at least once since age 14-only 5% of those experiences were reported to the police
- Over half of a representative sample of more than 1,000 female students at a large urban university had experienced some form of unwanted sex-12% of these acts were by casual dates and 43% by steady dating partners
- Studies of college students and high school students show both males and females give and receive dating violence the same-but women use it more often as a defense
- studies have found that women and girls were victims of dating violence twice as often as men and boys
- a survey found that women were 6 times more likely than men to experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner (intimate partners include current or former spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, dating partners)
- half of the 500,000 rapes and sexual assaults that get reported of all ages were committed by someone they know
- 80% to 95% of rapes that occur on college campuses are committed by someone known to the victim
Characteristics of Victims
Young women under age 18 are more likely to say that they knew the person who hurt them. Becoming a victim of dating violence is associated with the following:
- having female peers who have been sexually victimized
- lower church attendance
- greater number of past dating partners
- acceptance of dating violence
- personally having experienced a previous sexual assault
Characteristics of Perpetrators
Studies have found the following to be found with this problem of abuse:
- the male having sexually aggressive peers
- heavy alcohol or drug use; and the man’s acceptance of dating violence
- the male’s assumption of key roles in dating such as initiating the date
- being the driver, and paying dating expenses
- miscommunication about sex
- previous sexual intimacy with the victim
- interpersonal violence
- traditional sex roles
- adversarial attitudes about relationships
- rape myths
Men who have a family history have more of a problem. If a person sees abuse they may end up being an abuser. If a person is abused, then they may end up being an abuser too. Also, if alcohol is being used it can cause more problems. More alcohol equals more abuse.
Violence Awareness at School
Violent behavior can happen at every grade level. Some reasons include:
- family breakdown
- children being left alone
- less family time with positive communication
This violence is shocking. But there are common warning signs. It might be prevented if these signs are seen early. The signs should be taken seriously. The following are a few ways to identify the warning signs. These tips might help stop violent behavior in your or someone else’s child.
A child with interest in guns or other weapons
- Is the child too interested in a weapon’s ability to harm people or property?
- Does the child have weapons or have access to weapons?
- Does the child have a secret collection of weapons?
A child who has been aggressive against people, animals, or property
All of the following are signs that the child needs help right away.
- Increasing number of aggressive acts or threats
- Increasing harassing behavior
- Threatening letters
- Threatening phone messages
- Hurting pets
The child is angry, hostile, or is a bully
- Does the child bully others?
- Does he or she have emotional outbursts?
- Does he or she have tantrums long past age two?
- Does the child blame others for his or her problems?
The child has trouble making or keeping friends
- Has the child withdrawn from his or her friends?
- Does the child have new, questionable friends?
- Has the child chosen to become isolated?
The child has trouble getting along with adults
- Does the child not follow rules?
- Does the child disrespect parents and other authority figures?
The child watches too much television or enjoys playing violent video games
- Keep an eye on the child’s television viewing habits. Limit the amount of time he or she watches television or plays video games. There is often too much violence on television and in games. This violence has no apparent consequences.
- Teach the child that there are consequences to violent acts.
Take verbal warnings seriously
Get help immediately if:
- the child threatens to kill or harm another person
- the child speaks of self-harm
- the child is very interested in death
- the child talks about “taking others with me” or “not going alone”
Don’t treat threats lightly
Early warning signs that a problem could get serious include:
- Threatening looks
- Threatening gestures
- Threatening body language
When Domestic Violence Comes to Work
Domestic violence can be very scary and dangerous. And, it can easily show up at work. Along with brining danger to work, it can lead to missed days. I can also lead to less work being done. Women are usually the victims. Men can also be abused.
Victims may be too embarrassed to get help. Or they may be too afraid. Let employees know that help is available. Tell them that the help is confidential. Let them know that victims will be treated with respect and concern.
Look out for changes in behavior or work performance such as;
- Preoccupation/lack of concentration
- Increasing or unexplained absences
- Harassing phone calls to the workplace
- Bruises or other injuries that are unexplained or their explanations just don’t add up
If you are a manager and see these signs, or other signs, offer your help. Show your concern. In private, tell the employee what you have seen. “I noticed the bruises you had last week. You look upset today.” Tell her of your concern that she might be abused: “I thought it was possible that you are being hurt by someone. I am concerned about you.” Tell her of your support: “No one deserves to be hit.” If the employee does not want to talk about it, don’t do anything. Tell her your door is open.
If the employee does tell you something, get them help. Do not take charge of the employee’s safety yourself. There are risks. You can increase the employee’s danger if you get involved. It is essential that the employee receive advice from experience people in the field.
Employees can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The number is 1-800-799-7233. The hotline staff can tell the employee where and how to get help. Explain again that anything she says is confidential. But if there is a clear threat at work, you and anybody else who knows would need to seek help.
The employee should work on a safety plan. This plan needs qualified advice. Then offer your help in working out a plan for work. This plan may involve temporary changes. You may need to move the employee to a more secure location. Or you may need to change the work schedule. Your security office can help with this kind of planning.
Make sure the employee knows you can talk about work related issues. The employee may need some time off. She may have a court appointment. If you think anything else, let her know. But do not pressure her. Show respect for her decisions.
Remember how working can help. Being a victim can make people feel alone. They may not be able to see friends or family. It can rob them of their self-confidence. Having a chance to succeed, contribute, and be part of a team can be a real lifeline for the employee.
After you send your child to school in the morning, you expect her to return home safely that afternoon. But, when you see stories on TV about a shooting or violence at school you may not feel your child is safe.
No one can tell when events like this will happen. But there are steps you and your child can take to protect them at school.
First, it’s important to know the real story. Even with recent shootings, crime within schools has gone down through the 1990s. In the 1996-1997 school year, only one out of every ten U.S. public schools showed at least one serious violent crime. This is according to the U.S. Department of Education. And most events of school violence don’t involve guns.
But the numbers also raise some concern. The types of violent crimes in schools like physical attacks, rapes, robbery and killings have gone up. So has the number of multiple homicides. Pictures of school violence are tough to shake, and it’s creating fear among students, teachers and parents.
Try not to trouble your children with your fears about safety. What you can do is give them what they need and help them learn how to stay safe, including:
- Telling a parent, teacher or police about any activity that makes them feel uncomfortable or threats made to them
- Learning to solve an argument with words, not fists or weapons
- Staying away from students who have aggressive or violent behaviors, as well as students using drugs or alcohol
- Talking to parents about concerns or fears of school violence
As a parent, you also can become active in your child’s school and in the community. Knowing your child’s friends and teachers can help you understand her needs and safety concerns. Also ask what your school is doing to keep children safe. If you don’t think schools are doing enough, call the local parent-teacher group in the community and ask if you can help with any activities to keep children safe,
Key Tip 1
Talk with your child a lot about what’s happening at school. Learn who his friends are and their influences. If someone is picking on him, tell him how to respond with words, not violence. And make sure he knows whom he can go to for help at school. And, above all, carefully listen to any concerns and fears.
Key Tip 2
Teach your child how to be strong with students or situations that could be dangerous. This includes taking threats seriously, looking out for strangers on school playground and reporting any weapons. Make sure he knows where to report these problems and how to get help if situation turns bad.
Make sure your child has a safe route to and from school and is accompanied by trusted friends. Make sure your child knows safe places she can go for help along those routes. More violence actually happens just off school grounds after school than inside the building during school hours.
Key Tip 3
Set an example to teach them how to control their anger by:
- Not allowing them to hit a brother or sister or using other violence to solve fights.
- Solving your own fights in a positive way. Violent arguments, especially between parents, can scare children and set a poor example.
Key Tip 4
Limit your child’s exposure to violence and weapons. Watch your child’s exposure to violent movies and video games. Make sure kids understand what is okay to watch and what’s real. Be sure they’re not acting out any of behaviors they have seen. Also, watch their use of the Internet to make sure they’re not seeing violent behaviors that you find wrong. And finally, make sure any guns and weapons that you own are in a safe place away from curious children. Point out that weapons are off-limits and that people should never use guns to settle arguments.
“Are you chewing gum, young lady?”
Face it, schools have changed. The school bully you remember, that fight behind the gym, the time someone put gum on your chair aren’t anything like what is happening in schools today.
With changing times comes a need to change attitudes about how things work and how we should inform our children. While your father may have urged you to stand up to a bully, there was little chance that bully would meet you after school with a loaded Uzi and a box of ammunition under his coat. Today, you can’t risk giving your child the same advice. However, this doesn’t mean you need to think of your child’s school is a war zone, either. Prudent steps on your part will help to make sure your child’s school experience is enjoyable and safe.
What this really means is that both you and your children need to understand safety concerns at school. You should practice what they would do in situations that could turn dangerous. Talk every day about what’s happening at school. Make sure your child knows that threats should be taken seriously. They also need to know that weapons or violence should be reported immediately. Teachers and adults at the school can make sure certain punishments are given for violent behaviors. This can make a difference.
Be sure your child knows how to deal with that bullies at school. Teach her what to say calmly, but firmly, when others insult, threaten or hit her. No matter what happens, she should never choose to hit or name-call. If the teasing or abuse continues, make sure she knows who to report the problem to. Call her teacher or principal. Let your child know that you’re doing so because she has a right to feel safe and comfortable at school.
Cherry Creek School District in Englewood, Colo., created a program that’s worth trying. It helps victims to use certain strategies. The shortened form of this plan is HA-HA-SO:
Help. Seek it.
Assert. “Stop making fun of me. It’s mean and unfair.”
Humor. “I know this is an ugly shirt. Aunt Christine either has poor taste or a mean streak.”
Avoid. Walk away.
Self-talk. “I know I’m not really ugly.”
Own it. “You’re right; I am a Native American. Do you want to know what my culture is really like?”
Talk about peer pressure with your child. Explain that children who try to pressure him into doing things that make him feel uncomfortable aren’t really his friends. True friends will accept his choices. And nudge your child toward students who may have a better influence. Encourage activities with those children and tell him the importance of staying away from troublemakers. It’s a lot easier for him to stand up against violence if he’s not standing alone. Also encourage your child to participate in other school activities. Doing more at school than going to classes will help them feel proud of their school and your child may become more watchful for negative pressures at school, such as violence.
And, finally, be active in your child’s school. Join the school parents group and attend school functions and parent-teacher conferences. By seeing you at school, your child and her teachers will know you care about what happens there. If principals and teachers aren’t doing enough to make the school safe, work with your school board and parent groups to make changes.
My 11-year-old son hangs around other boys who are suspected of vandalizing property. They’ve never hurt anyone as far as I know, but I’m worried.
Damaging property is a form of violence, and more serious violence can follow. Your son may not do this type of violence, but he may feel peer pressure to act in violent ways. He’s still young enough for you to set limits about his friends and acceptable behaviors. Set limits, and stick to them.
My teen-age daughter told me that several girls at school are teasing her every day. Twice, they’ve threatened her with violence, and she’s scared. What can I do?
It’s understandable that your daughter is frightened, and it’s important that you do everything you can to help her. First, contact your school to make them aware of the problem. Ask them what they will exactly do to protect your daughter. Second, teach her ways to stay away these girls, to talk firmly to them without making them angry, and to get help if necessary.
My 14-year-old son has a friend who hasn’t done anything violent that I’m aware of, but he acts strangely and I’m concerned he could become violent. Should I tell someone?
Warning signs for young people who could have violent behavior, from the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, include:
- Doing poorly in school
- Often expressing feelings that life’s unfair
- Ignoring others’ feelings and rights
- Treating people badly
- Ignoring parents, teachers and other adults
- Using alcohol or drugs
Some of these also could be signs of other problems, so don’t treat your son’s friend unfairly. If your son’s friend is showing some of these signs, your best answer is to talk to a school teacher or principal.
When you need help, information and support talk to a:
- Mental-health professional
- School counselor
Lantieri, Linda and Janet Patti, Waging Peace in Our Schools. Beacon Press, 1998.
Lichter, Daphne, How to Protect Our Children in School: A Step-by-step Guide for Busy Parents and Professionals. New Millennium Press, 1999.
Violence on the Job
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has found that almost 20 workers are killed each week in the United States. About 1 million workers die from workplace attacks each year.
Murder is the second leading cause of death on the job. This is second only to car crashes. Murder is the leading cause of death on the job for women. Men are at three times higher risk of being killed on the job than women. Murder is also the leading cause of death for workers under the age of 18. Most murders that happen on the job happen during a robbery (71%). Only 9% of these are done by coworkers or former coworkers. Seventy six percent of all workplace murders are done with a gun.
Most nonfatal job attacks happen in hospitals. They happen a lot in nursing homes. They also happen a lot in social service agencies. Forty eight percent of nonfatal assaults in the job are done by a patient. Nonfatal job assaults cause more than 876,000 lost workdays. Sixteen million dollars of lost pay are because of nonfatal job attacks. Nonfatal assaults happen among men and women at almost the same rate.
Murder in the workplace is different than other types of murders. Most workplace murders take place during a robbery. Less than 10% of murders outside of work happen during a robbery. About 50% of all people killed were related to the murderer. Most murders that happen on the job are believed to happen between strangers. Unique ways to stop workplace violence are needed.
There are many factors that place workers at risk for violence on the job. These include:
- being around the public
- exchanging money
- delivering services or goods
- working late at night
- working in the early morning
- working alone
- being around important things
- dealing with people who are violent
Anyone can be attacked on the job. The risks are bigger in some jobs. Taxicab drivers have the biggest risk of being attacked. The risk is 60 times the national average rate. The other industries at risk are:
- liquor stores
- detective services
- protective services
- gas service stations
- jewelry stores
The jobs with the most murders are:
- taxicab drivers
- police and detectives
- public service
- gas station workers
- garage workers
- security guards
Most nonfatal attacks happen in the following:
- nursing homes (27%)
- social services (13%)
- hospitals (11%)
- grocery stores (6%)
- eating and drinking places (5%)
There are a lot of ways to reduce the risk of workplace violence. Examples of prevention are:
- Being able to see things within and outside the job
- rules for dealing with money
- separating workers from customers
- good lighting
- security devices
- escort services
- employee training
No one way is right for all jobs. All workers should know the risk of violence on their jobs. They should find a way to reduce those risks. A workplace violence prevention program should have a system for logging events. It should include things that need to be done when something happens. Employers and workers should always be able to talk.