Victims likely to talk when dating violence is witnessed

Jul 30, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Victims of teen dating violence are more likely to talk about the violence if a friend witnesses the incident, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and three other institutions conducted the study to understand what leads abused teens to seek help. The findings appear in the July issue of Violence Against Women, a scholarly journal that focuses on gender-based violence against women in all forms and across cultural and national boundaries.

"There are a number of possible reasons that teens are likely to talk about the violence if someone sees it," said Daniel Saunders, U-M professor of social work. "The witness to the violence might start the conversation out of concern or the victim might want to talk about their fear or embarrassment. Another possible reason is that the victim might feel comfortable discussing what has already been disclosed."

Fifty-seven victims of dating violence at an urban high school were asked questions about the worst episode of violence they experienced. Two-thirds of these episodes were observed by someone else.

"We tend to think of violence between intimates as being behind closed doors" said Beverly Black, the study's lead author and a professor at the University of Texas–Arlington School of Social Work. "We were surprised that in most cases someone witnessed the violence."

Most of those victimized said they talked with someone about the worst violence. Those who talked with someone always chose a friend. Only a small number talked with an adult as well.

The authors recommend that more information be available for teens on how best to respond to victimized friends. Current programs give specific do's and don't's for teens after an episode has ended. However, teens may need additional information on ways to respond immediately, the researchers said.

Another factor related to teen victims' willingness to talk about the violence was their view of the violence. If they viewed the perpetrator as angry or jealous, as opposed to controlling or protective, they were more likely to talk about the violence. The authors speculate that victims may be more frightened by angry and jealous forms of violence than by controlling forms. Alternatively, angry and jealous forms may be viewed as more "normal" or justified and thus less embarrassing to talk about.

The type and severity of violence and emotional hurt were not related to talking about the violence.

Black and Saunders collaborated with Richard Tolman from the University of Michigan, Arlene Weisz from Wayne State University, and Michelle Callahan of 360 Strategies in New York City.

Provided by University of Michigan

Explore further: Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UN science report: Warming worsens security woes

Mar 30, 2014

In an authoritative report due out Monday a United Nations climate panel for the first time is connecting hotter global temperatures to hotter global tempers. Top scientists are saying that climate change ...

A rare insight into human kindness

Feb 18, 2014

Lucy Fiske was at a conference in Jakarta about a year ago when she met a young woman on her way to Bogor on the Indonesian island of Java. With other Indonesians, the woman planned to act as a human shield ...

Recommended for you

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

18 hours ago

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

21 hours ago

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

22 hours ago

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

22 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

White House updating online privacy policy

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...