Domestic violence is one of the most distressing and sadly most common issues that afflict contemporary relationships. Violence between a man and women is completely destructive, both to the couple and their individual selves, and if allowed to continue can ultimately lead to separation and in extreme cases to serious injury or death. Fortunately, awareness has increased on the subject through the last decade especially, allowing the victims of domestic violence many outlets and avenues of communication with which to help to end their situation.
However, a more troubling aspect of this behaviour is the growing trend for domestic violence that occurs between teenage couples. There has, through the formative years of the twenty first century, been a sharp increase in the reports of violence in teenage relationships, with a 1 in 5 teens aged between 13 and 14 claiming to have physically assaulted by their partner. With the same ratio of teenagers also citing instances of emotional abuse between the ages of 13 and 17, there is an intensifying focus on the reasons that may be behind this sudden degeneration of teen relationship behaviour.
Teen Behaviour and Social Conduct
With 1 out of 10 teenage girls and 1 out of 11 teenage boys reporting some degree of physical abuse in a relationship in 2009, the statistics make particularly uncomfortable reading. With an even greater number of teenagers experiencing verbal abuse within a relationship, the most pertinent question to ask is whether these issues are relationship specific or a more general concern amongst teenagers and young adults today.
Certainly, the emergence of the internet age has coincided with increased acts of violence amongst teenagers, not just within the US but across many western European nations across the globe. This trend is also not restricted to behaviour amongst males; statistics reveal that there has been an even more exaggerated increase in the number of females of who commit acts of violence, and in terms of relationships half of the teenage girls who report domestic violence respond to this aggressive behaviour in kind.
Various psychological studies of this type of behavioural pattern have shown a strong connection with a general desensitization to violence. This is largely attributed to two separate factors: firstly, the increased number of media outlets accessible through TV and online has created a larger awareness of real life violence amongst youngsters. Secondary to this, there are a high number of computer games and television programs that glorify and glamorize the concept of committing violence to achieve a goal and without consequence.
Learned Behaviour and Setting a Correct Example
For violence to be a part of a teenager’s life and formative relationship experiences, it must be presumed that these types of behavioural trends have been learnt from a particular influence in their lives. Though is most likely to be a single parent or a mother and father couple, it could in fact be anyone or any partnership that has close contact with the youngster. It is accepted that youngsters who grow up exposed to domestic violence and relationship turmoil are much more likely to repeat the cycle once they themselves begin to date and form partnerships.
This is never truer than in an age where marriage is no longer the sacred and revered institution that it once was. More and more couples who undertake their vows are experiencing separation and eventual divorce, and domestic violence is an increasing feature in marriage break ups. It is therefore perfectly sensible to expect that youngsters who have grown up and witness domestic violence first hand are encouraged to repeat this behaviour as they grow up, especially in the instances where the victim of the violence stays in the relationship throughout the cycles of physical abuse. Though there are often very emotive reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships, a child is unlikely to recognize these facts as anything other than a justification and rationalization of the behaviour.
A Desensitized Age
Whether witnessing computerized violence on a high definition television, or an example of domestic violence within a relationship, there is no doubt that today’s young teenagers are increasingly desensitized to acts of violence and cruelty. That this has been allowed to happen is a wider fault of society, as there does not seem to be enough regulatory legislation to control exactly what children should and should not be exposed to. Such lapses allow children to witness acts of domestic and international violence on a constant basis through a variety of media.
This makes it increasingly difficult for them as they grow older and form their own relationships to differentiate between reality and fiction and right from wrong. The sad thing about such desensitization is that it also reduces the levels of empathy in a teenager, meaning that they have difficulty showing remorse or modifying their behaviour after striking out or hitting a friend or partner. The same concept also effects the teen victim in the scenario, as they are less likely to seek flight from the assault and much more inclined to accept the behaviour either as normal or a typical relationship aberration.