The relative explosion in communication technologies over the past decade has created new forums that abusive individuals can use to monitor, control or humiliate their victims.
Behaviors that used to be conducted interpersonally or through peer intermediaries are increasingly played out via cell phones and social media sites.
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It’s important to note that we are down on abusive relationships, not on all relationships.
We understand that relationships for adolescents fulfill many of the same roles that adult relationships fulfill—conferring social connections and status, friendship, and affection.
According to the organization that you work with, you may have particular expectations for the expression, degree and boundaries in relationships between the youth that you serve, but if the kids that you work with feel like you’re simply the relationship police, they may not hear concerns that you have about the health and safety of their relationships.
Here’s a great healthy relationship definition from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance (2009): A significant majority of students report experience of sexual harassment.
Differences between TDV and adult domestic violence include the fact that teens have less control over their lives and schedules generally including the school that they attend, their routes to school, where they work, their class schedule, activity schedules, etc.
Additionally, there are far fewer resources and systems designed to protect victims of TDV.
A study of these behaviors commissioned by the AAUW Education Foundation in 2001 found that 8 out of 10 students experienced sexual harassment at some point in their school lives.
The AAUW Education Foundation (2001) study defines sexual harassment in this way: In the past many institutions have had a somewhat casual attitude about sexual harassment understanding those behaviors as harmless flirting, or as “kids being kids”.
We are increasingly recognizing that TDV is prevalent and serious.