According to the July 2008 "Tween and Teen Dating Violence and Abuse Study" commissioned by Liz Claiborne Inc. and loveisespect.org, The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, tweens involved in relationships with the opposite sex experience significant rates of dating abuse and violence.
For the purposes of this study, the following groups were defined as follows:
Tweens - adolescents age 11-14
Teens - adolecents age 15-18
Parents - adults with a child age 11-14
The survey revealed the following about tween dating violence and abuse:
Tweens who have been in a relationship report peer pressure and emotional and physical abuse.
- 62% know friends and peers who've been verbally abused by a boyfriend/girlfriend.
- 36% know friends and peers who've been pressured by their relationship partner to do something they didn't want to do.
- 20% of 13 and 14-year olds in relationships know friends and peers who've been physically abused (kicked, hit, slapped or punched) by a boyfriend/girlfriend.
- 24% say dating abuse and violence is a serious problem among their age group, and 37% say verbal abuse is a problem.
- Only 51% of tweens say they know the warning signs of a bad tween dating relationship, and 54% say they would know what to do if a friend asked for help.
For teens who have had sex by age 14:
- 69% know say they've experienced one or more types of abuse in a relationship
- 61% have been called names or put down verbally.
- 34% were physically abused .
- 36% were pressured to have oral sex when they didn't want to .
- 34% were pressured into having sexual intercourse when they didn't want to .
For teens who put off having sex until age 17-18:
- 36% have been called names or put down verbally.
- 9% were physically abused .
- 15% were pressured to have oral sex when they didn't want to .
- 15% were pressured into having sexual intercourse when they didn't want to .
But the older a child gets, the less likely she/he will talk to a parent.
- 67% of tweens in relationships discuss their experiences with friends.
- 67% of tweens in relationships discuss their experiences with their mom.
- 78% of teens discuss their dating relationships with friends .
- 48% of teens discuss their dating relationships with their mom .
- 70% of parents who haven't talked to their tween say it's because their child is too young.
- 67% of parents say they know 'a lot' or 'everything' about their tween's dating relationship, but only 51% of tweens agree.
- 20% of tweens say their parents know little or nothing about their dating relationships, although only 8% of parents admit that .
- 38% of parents say their tween has been in a relationship, whereas 47% of tweens say that about themselves .
- Only 8% of parents say that their child has 'hooked up' with a partner, versus 17% of tweens who say they've 'hooked up.'
- Delaying the age at which a teenager first has sex greatly reduces the chances she/he will be involved in abuse.
- Talking to a child very early on about dating, relationships, and sexual behavior -- even before it seems necessary -- is essential to maintaining open communications between parent and child and may reduce the incidence of abuse.
The "Tween and Teen Dating Violence and Abuse Study" was conducted January 2-18, 2008 by TRU (Teenage Research Unlimited) and the survey's findings were released July 8, 2008.